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Who invented the postage stamp?

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1246584.  Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:52 pm Reply with quote

In my QI Book of General Ignorance (2006 edn, page 28) you have stated that the postage stamp is a Scottish invention/discovery. This, presumably, is a reference to the Scottish postal reformer James Chalmers.

However, it is confirmed in Chalmers' private correspondence, that he published his plan for postal reform (i.e. adhesive stamps) in November 1837. But Sir Rowland Hill is on record as having published a pamphlet advocating a similar reform nine months earlier than Chalmers.

Indeed Chalmers had written to Hill in October 1839 stating that the former had priority in submitting the reform plan. He was definitely ignorant of Hill's earlier publication as, in May 1840, he wrote to Hill withdrawing his own claim thus acknowledging in his lifetime that Hill had the earlier claim.

In 1879 Chalmers' son challenged Hill's claims in court. Between 1884 and 1889 it was impartially decided that Sir Rowland's claim should be upheld.

I wonder what the Elves have to say on this matter?

Source: QI Book of General Ignorance 1st edn.
Source: The Guinness Book of Stamps


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