25 September 2020

Today a small entry on the postcard above. A very ordinary Dutch postcard: there’s nothing special to it. Only its pristine condition might surprise you (over a 100 years old and the paper shows no sign of wear or stain whatsoever!). The postmark belongs to the so-called ‘Typenrader’-model: the postal clerk could set all the different date-indicators easily by means of cogs.

A major improvement over the older Large Circular/Round Postmarks which used detachable, ‘insertable’ characters for specific intervals. You could imagine how much filthier the hands of the postal clerk would look like when he used the latter type of postmarks. It became obvious that the typenrader was both a time-saving and less messy means of postmarking.

Postcard which was posted in Medemblik on the 2nd of May 1916 with destination Hoefijzerfabriek Werkman in the small village of Helpman which was just outside Groningen back then.

Until this day the Dutch postal outlets still use a modern variant of the typenrader. Our Medemblik cancel was part of the first series of typenrader-postmarks: the ‘long beam’ Arabic model. The ‘long beam’ refers to the beam in which all the dates are aligned and the ‘Arabic’ concerns the way how the month was being presented: an Arabic numerical ‘5’. After some time the P.T.T. decided to replace the month indicators with Roman ciphers – probably for the sake of clarity I guess -. Of course it’s easier to ‘decipher’ 2-.V.16.2-3N. than 2-.5.16.2-3N.

Medemblik Typenrader postmark (long beam, Arabic).

The reason why I wanted to share this particular postcard was because of the sender’s address: apart from the fact that the company traded in ironware (ijzerwaren) and that the sons of Johan Fransen had continued the business after their father had died (Wed.), we see that the company could be reached by dialing 7. Only a 7!

In 1915 there were only 75,000 individual telephone subscribers in the Netherlands. Medemblik was (and is) a small but ancient city in the northeastern corner of West Frisia and had therefore (very) few telephone subscribers in 1916. The postcards coveys a bittersweet message too: today similar messages are all but send by means of mobile phones…

The back of the postcard isn’t really interesting: the addressee still exists though: Werkman horseshoes in Groningen. Groningen has totally enclosed the small village of Helpman in the 1950s and ’60s . The blue mark reads ‘answered’.

Back of the postcard.

For the original publication see the Dutch Philately blog by Hugo Brieffies.

Hugo Brieffies

Hugo Brieffies

See http://dutchphilately.blogspot.com/ for more articles by Hugo Brieffies

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