Postal Markings and Cancellations of the Pneumatic Posts.

Back to main narrative List of cancellation types The cancels in office number order

Background and discussion

Initially, special cancellers were used: an oval canceller with the office number was used until 1883, followed by a circular sanserif type with the time, date, and office name. In 1890, a single circle seriffed canceller with the name or location was introduced, followed in 1893 by the last specifically-pneumatic canceller, with the time, date, and office number. The next canceller type was a bridge, introduced in 1901. From 1925, the same basic types of cancellers were used as for the normal post, with special 'counter letters' and often (but not always) with the time in hours & minutes; senders usually marked their mail "Rohrpost". Note however that for some time after the pneumatic system closed, Express mail could receive an hours-and-minutes cancel. There is a commonly-held view that "all cancels with a 'counter letter' of 'R' or 'R/a' denote pneumatic transportation" - this is not true.

In the tables, the first column is the serial number used in this book for the cancel type or subtype (it is NOT any number on the cancel nor of the office), ‘Text’ is the wording on the cancel. ‘K/S’ is the Klein Vol II reference if it begins ‘K’, the Stohl Part R reference if it begins ‘R’. The classification system of W G Genzler, as corrected (see Die Briefmarke 10 & 12 of 1989) is followed and extended; within each type the cancels are given serial numbers 2, 4 etc to allow for interpolation of later discoveries. To its data has been added [at the end, so that the numbers used in the first edition of this work are unchanged] the cancels listed in Stohl Part R. We have applied the following filter to an hours-&-minutes cancel listed in either work: it must be from an office listed elsewhere as having pneumatic service AND it must be recorded as in use before 1956. The final ‘ON’ column is the Office Number, taken from the 1892 Post- und Telegraphen-Verordnungsblatt. All the cancellations are then listed together, in office-number order.

A useful source of information arises from the engraver Josef Schatz, Wien XVII, who made new cancels and repaired old cancels in the years 1908-1938. Schatz kept books in which he made an impression of every cancel as it left his care. The late Erhard Goerig made a list from these books of all cancels for places in today’s Austria, and later, in view of the uncertain political future after the assassination of U S President Kennedy, typed and deposited a copy overseas. This we have access to. It is 140 pages long, and lists on what day impressions were made of 9,527 cancels. Included are all OT cancels that Schatz made or repaired in those 30 years, and also Postablagen, TPOs, Lloyd and Kriegsmarine.

However, it is NOT true, or at least is not justified by the available evidence, to claim that only Schatz made pneumatic cancellers. At least one other firm, Burk, was making cancellers (eg for Bosnia: see Passer, pp192ff), and as we have no access to their records we do not know whether or not they made any for pneumatic purposes. Furthermore, not every canceller that was made was put into service (for example, a small number of cancellers were produced in 1916 for offices in Galizien which were not opened because they were retaken by the Russians). Lastly, some of the cancels recorded as used by office 88/89 (which opened in 1912) are not in the Schatz-by-Görig lists.

List of cancellation types

The pneumatic cancellations described here are divided into these types:

Note that our types X12 - X20 were used in the earliest times alongside our Type I. Other "cancellations" found on pneumatic items are described at Other Markings.

Office Number order

This is the same list but sorted in office number order, so that questions such as "what different cancellations are known from Office 15?" can more easily be answered. Close the window when you've done with it.

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