Tonga's Typewriter Stamp
Klug writes, "In the days before and for a while after the use of a new invention called adhesive postage stamps, letters were handwritten. Invoices and orders scribbled with poor penmanship were likely to be misread, costing a business or customer valuable time and money. Bookkeepers and clerks were hired based at least in part upon their ability to write a clear hand. Legible handwriting was essential, and business colleges taught lovely Spencerian script handwriting as well as bookkeeping and other business skills."
Then something happened around 1874 - the typewriter began making its debut in business offices throughout the country.
Klug points out, " In 1896, when the typewriter was still fairly new technology, at least one of the machines made their way to the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. Tonga was experiencing a shortage of half-penny stamps. The typewriter was used to type 'Half-Penny-' on a small number of sheets of the several denominations of stamps that had already been surcharged once before."
She goes on to say, "Another stamp issue was produced entirely by a typewriter in 1895. A British missionary with a typewriter was drafted to use the machine to make postage stamps, which he did. These were simple things, with a "U" typed in the upper left corner and a "G" in the upper right corner for Uganda Government."
Shown above, an 1896 overprinted ½p-on-1½p-on-2p stamp (Scott 36) from Tonga.
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