Portofreie Rohrpost

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Thanks to Chuck Colomb for providing virtually all of the material in this section!

Official correspondence such as notification of waiting goods at the railway depot, internal correspondence with Rohrpost employees and with Rohrpost stations, notifications from government agencies to the police regarding planned works, etc. and "ex-Officio" letters were afforded free-franking privilege. In 1906 there were 1,435,539,250 pieces carried by the Austrian post, of which 87,563,600, or 6.1%, were postage-free. In 1907 these figures were 1,517,815,970 and 94,340,300, or 6.2%. (See Der österreichische post, telegraphen- und telephonedienst von Dr. Ferdinand Bachmann, K.K. Oberpostkommisär und Lehrkursleiter, in Wein. pub: Alfred Hölder, K.u.K.Hof- und Universitäts- Buchändler, Buchändler der Kaiserlichen Akademir der Wissenschaften, Wien und Leipzig 1910 (copy in Österreichische National Bibliotek, Wien)).

Dr. Hans Hajek lists, for 1906, total Rohrpost "sendungen" (excluding telegrams) as 4,611,604 pieces, of which 375,629, or 8.1%, were Amtlich (official) items. In 1907 these figures were 3,656,894 and 289,603, or 7.9%. It is uncertain what these "Amtlich" items included, but presumably the daily reporting forms from each station would be included, as well as official items which were afforded the "Portofreiheit". Very little Portofreie Rohrpost material appears to have survived.

Andy's speculation. These cards appears to have been prepared by hand in advance, and the under-dotted spaces filled in before sending. However, the wording is so standardised that I suspect some kind of copying machine was used, which by some chemical process could make a dozen or two copies of a handwrittenn original on to card, perhaps destroying the original. Sucn devices were certainly invented well before the dates of these cards.

Official correspondence - cable laying

From: "K.k. Sektion I / der technischen abteilung / der Post- und Telegraphen-Direktion"
To: "die Stadtbahnamts-abteilung IV a / Wien I / Rathaus"
Warning of telephone cable burial that may disturb operations of the Stadtbahn (City rail service).

Original text


Wegen Telephonkabelverlegung im XII Bezirk bei der Philadelphiabrücke findet am 28 April 10 durch die Gefertigte eine Straßenaufgrabung statt.
Wien, um 27 IV 1910
K.K. Sektion I
Der technischen Abteilung
Der Post- u. Telegraphen Direktion
VI, Dreihuteisengasse 7
Because of telephone cable laying in the XIIth district at the Philadelphia bridge a road excavation by the undersigned will take place on 28 April 1910.
Vienna, on 27 IV 1910
K.K. Section I
The Technical Department
Der Post- u. Telegraphen Direktion
VI, Dreihuteisengasse 7

Official Correspondence - road closure

From: K.k. Baubureau Dept 13
To: Das Magistr. Bezirks-Amt / Bauamts-Abteilung
Warning of the closure of a roadway during work. Translation is uncertain because the handwriting is very difficult.

Original text


Die K.K. Bauabteilung 13 zeigt an, dass in der Nacht vom 3. auf den 4./XI. die Überbrückung der Fahrbahn in Alserstrasse Ecke Hebragasse 1 zwecks Zuschütten der Baugrube des Kabelbrunnens abgebrochen wird. Während der Dauer dieser Arbeit ist die Fahrbahn auf Seite des IX. Bez. abgesperrt. Wien, am 3./XI.1911 The K.K. Building Department 13 gives notice that during the night of 3-4 Nov the overbridging of the highway in Alserstrasse will be broken at the corner of Hebragasse 1 for the purpose of filling in the excavation of the cable manhole. For the duration of this work the highway up to the boundary of the IX District will be closed. Vienna, 3rd Nov 1911

[The IX Bezirk boundary runs down the middle of Alserstrasse. The best engineering interpretation of "overbridging a highway" is that some temporary construction had been installed to carry the traffic, especially the electric trams, over an excavation probably to work on a manhole giving access to telephone cables. This was now to be filled in, and the temporary construction removed. The 3rd of November 1911 was a Friday.]

Official Correspondence - excavating a pipe

This card is from the Telephone Works Dept 19 (using their cachet to justify free postage) to the Works Dept in the Vienna Town Hall. It gives notice that the following evening (11 June 1912) they are going to dig up a pipe at the junction of Innstrasse and Vorgartenstrasse. This is N.W. of the Prater railway marshalling yard, so judged by the known locations of Pneumatic Offices this was probably in telephone service.

Official Correspondence - digging for a fault

Original text


Wegen dringender Fehlerbehebung im I Bezirk Nibelungeng. Ecke Babenbergerstr. findet heute am 14./X.a.c. durch die Gefertigte eine Straßenaufgrabung statt. // Wien, um 14./X 1909 // K.K. Sektion I // Der technischen Abteilung // Der Post- u. Telegraphen Direktion // VI, Dreihuteisengasse 7 Because of emergency fault correction in the Ist district Nibelungengasse corner Babenbergerstrasse a road excavation by the undersigned will take place on today 14/X this year. // Vienna, 14 Oct 1909 // [address cachet]

We have used // above to mean 'new line'. The stated road junction is close to the pneumatic pipe route up Mariahilferstrasse, but is more likely to have been a telephone cable.

Internal Administrative Personnel Matters

This cover survived because it was used to store the two letters illustrated below. Based on the content and dates of these letters, there must have been a related earlier letter (now lost) that was delivered in this cover. Note it is from the Personnel Dept P3.

Above is part of the back of the envelope, and below is all of the front. It was sent from 1 Wien 1 4b (the main post office outgoing counter), it passed through Wien 1 Rc (the main post office pneumatic counter), and was received at 3 Wien 45.

The first surviving letter appears to be a retroactive transfer, perhaps starting on the date Franz Münster took medical leave.

Translation: Postoffice Wien 1 / P3 / Wien, 2 Dec (19)41 / Employment letter / To Post Office Wien 40 / By order of the Reichspost management PS Franz Münster will be transferred to your office at the end of 31 Aug 41. He was instructed to report for duty on 2 Dec 41 ‘on time’. (Signed)

It appears from the second letter that Franz did not show up for work on 2 Dec 41. Perhaps he didn’t like the transfer...

Translation: Postoffice 1 / Personnel Department / P 3 / Wien, 3 Dec 1941 / To PS Franz Münster, Wien. / I request you to immediately deposit a recent medical certificate concerning the nature and duration of further illness in the personnel department of the main post office. / Heil Hitler! / or in case of health notification let the doctor’s certificate no 1 already removed by you be certified on the back by the doctor and send it in right away.

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