THE KRIEGSMINISTERIUM PNEUMATIC POST FACILITY, 26‑Nov‑1913 to 8‑April‑1922
This chapter discusses the evidence that the War Ministry building (the Kriegsministerium) on the Ringstrasse had pneumatic post facilities at the time of the First World War, using the office number WIEN 25. Incoming and outgoing items of ordinary and pneumatic mail will be described, and then the documentary evidence will be reviewed.
As the 1900s began, the Commanders of the Austro-Hungarian Army decided that they wanted a war, and they wanted a brand new Headquarters to run it from. In 1909, construction of a new Kriegsministerium (ie Imperial War Ministry) began on Stubenring to replace the old building on the corner of Am Hof; it was opened in 1913. The map in the 1911 English Baedeker (which was probably drawn for the German edition of 1908) shows the new building as an outline, marked "im Bau". Nowadays the large building is well-known as the "Regierungsgebäude", where various government ministries are based. A gigantic double-headed Imperial Austrian eagle, allegedly redesigned by Franz Ferdinand, still broods over the main entrance although its crown has been removed. The building is so large that the author's camera cannot show it as a rectangle!
- The first item. This is a 35 heller pneumatic-post letter-card, and was sent in 1916 to Herr Oberintendant Pietsch of 13. Abteilung in the Kriegsministerium.
- The second item. This is a pneumatic post card, posted at 1/1 WIEN 1; it has the usual three creases for transmission by pipe, which must have run from Wien 1 to Wien 25.
- The third item. This is a letter-card which bounced around the system, visiting Wien 25 twice!
- The fourth item. This is the only known item sent pneumatically FROM Wien 25 - it summons an Officer to attend the arrival of Franz Ferdinand's corpse.
- The fifth item. Another letter-card posted in Vienna to Intendant Pietsch in Abteilung 13.
- The sixth item. This is not pneumatic, but was sent from Abteilung 13 to Pietsch, who seems to have been called up, given the rank of Military Intendant, and posted to the Military General Government at Lublin in South East Poland!
- The seventh item. This is a letter posted in Vienna on 28 June 1915, the first anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. It was addressed to nobody in particular in Abteilung 12 at the Kriegsministerium.
- The eighth item. This is a card posted at Feldpostamt 601 (then in Pustertal) to Herr Oberleutnant Julius Setti at the Kriegsministerium; they redirected it to Taborstrasse and added a WIEN 25 cancel.
- Documentary evidence that Wien 25 handled pneumatic mail:
- The technical details: does there have to be a pipe?
- Information in the Austrian State Archives.
Wien 25 functioned not only as a post office but also as a pneumatic station, restricted to authorised users of the Kriegsministerium, from 26 Nov 1913 to 8 April 1922. It was served by a pneumatic pipe from the Fleischmarkt office.