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Former featured article Mail is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 27, 2004.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 16, 2004 Featured article candidate Promoted
May 16, 2006 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
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Mention of ZIP codes makes for a U.S.-centric page. Replace with mention of zip codes being insituted in the U.S. and postal codes in general as well. --Daniel C. Boyer

Military censorship[edit]

Added mention of military censorship.

Additional methods[edit]

Added mention of some additional methods of mail transport. Does anyone care to expand on them...? --Daniel C. Boyer

Rendered obsolete?[edit]

Perhaps it could be put somewhat better than "rendered obsolete"... --Daniel C. Boyer


Added mention that packages are also transported "by mail." --Daniel C. Boyer


I am going to edit the stuff about calligraphy to provide more detail and a more NPOV. --Daniel C. Boyer

"The study of a fine form of hand-writing, in fact, has quite completely disappeared": again, this can hardly be said to be true. "Quite completely" means absolutely entirely, and no one can seriously maintain this. --Daniel C. Boyer
I am going to remove most of this paragraph as it is not NPOV. --user:Daniel C. Boyer

Mail art[edit]

Somehow "mail art" should be mentioned or linked to in the article. --Daniel C. Boyer

4000 BC in China[edit]

Can someone explain the attribution of mail to 4000 B.C. in China. This seems like an extremely unlikely date given what we know about world history and the requisites of a mail system. --Davis Foulger

Talk to the Chinese. They claim to have invented everything. (Although it is a seriously loony date even for them – it's 2 millennia before the Yellow Emperor – it's necessary to put it back that far if they want to claim priority over Egypt and Mesopotamia.) — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

The Postal Service[edit]

I want to write an article on a band called "The Postal Service". I'm vaguely concerned because postal service redirects here. Is this OK? --Nelson 18:39, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I think probably the solution is having postal service redirect here, Postal Service direct to your article, and have a little disambig block at the top of each. - Hephaestos 19:58, 1 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I think an even better solution is having all the postal service pages redirect here, Postal Service (disambiguation) mentioning both, and Postal Service (band) being about the quasi-notable musicians. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)


The most recent change to this article (October 13, 2003) suggests that HTTP is itself an evolution of mail. I think this is strongly inaccurate beyond the level of extremely loose analogy (e.g. HTTP entails addresses). It might be reasonable to say that electronic mail is a evolution of mail (which in a limited sense it is), but not that HTTP is. Davis Foulger

Take it up with the Royal Mail who used the idea of a monopoly over any form of senders and receivers to grab control of modern mass media. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Poste Restante[edit]

No discussion about poste restante? --Kaihsu 09:36, 2004 Apr 27 (UTC)

Nope. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)


I added the comment about charities here because it didn't seem to fit the postcard article itself; however, ultimately I think that is where it should go.--NicholasJones 13:08, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Is there no discussion of the sorting process anywhere? Shantavira 11:57, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I was looking for this also. 119 08:13, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Request for references[edit]

Hi, I am working to encourage implementation of the goals of the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Part of that is to make sure articles cite their sources. This is particularly important for featured articles, since they are a prominent part of Wikipedia. The Fact and Reference Check Project has more information. Thank you, and please leave me a message when you have added a few references to the article. - Taxman 19:15, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)

History I[edit]

The history of mail in this article seems to end just before the beginning of modern mail service. Are there any editors who can add something about how modern postal sytems, stamps, etc, began? It doesn't have to be thorough. Cheers, -Willmcw 08:47, Apr 27, 2005 (UTC)

Can somebody source the introduction of the envelope? I've seen it credited to Britain 1696. And mention V-mail? Trekphiler 12:15, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Etymology of post[edit]

I'm curious about the etymology of 'post' in this context. Anyone? --Eamonnca1 (talk)

If this page doesn't cover it, see post office#name. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Joris added it a few weeks ago. 6th Common Sense (talk) 08:52, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
I am positive that what Joris wrote indeed is "post"'s correct source, I was informed that it will be deleted soon if we fail to provide sources. Unfortunately, the sources I find up to now, only go back to "Latin". Now - we do understand that "Latin" evolved from prior languages and that, as all languages, it borrowed words too. Anybody else knows how to source "Post" further back than "Latin"? 6th Common Sense (talk) 22:46, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

German mailbox[edit]

What about using the current Briefkasten image instead of the old the "old-style-replica Postbriefkasten" image at the bottom? -- Felix Wiemann 17:48, 20 January 2006 (UTC)


Hi all! Is there still a desire to see this article recorded for Spoken Wikipedia? I'd be willing to take it on if so. Ckamaeleon ((T)) 17:53, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Another request for references[edit]

Hello! This article entirely lacks references and footnotes, which are a must for featured articles. I'm considering nominating it for removal from the list of featured articles unless references and footnotes are provided, and will most likely do so in a week, as there was already a previous request tha remained unanswered. Todor Bozhinov  17:30, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Going out on a limb[edit]

I must entirely agree with Todor above, but I'm using this chink in the citation-armor of Wikipedia to brazenly assert my own POV. I think that the non-referencing author who added the note about the Teutonic Knights was actually thinking of the Knights Templar, who had a sprawling network of land holdings and estates and who in addition to a private postal service had something resembling a modern banking system, which allowed a pilgrim to deposit money with a Templar church in Europe and withdraw it when they reached Jerusalem. My understanding is that the Teutonics, on the other hand, were much more on the hack-and-slash end of the spectrum rather than the clever monk/scribe/administrator like the Templars. But that's purely a guess on my part, time affords me the arrogance but not the research to confirm it ;^). I guess you could consider this comment to be a sort of anti-citation. Struthious Bandersnatch, Fourth Tildé of the Apocalypse 03:48, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Citation style[edit]

Please switch the section marked over to footnote style to match the rest of the article. Kat, Queen of Typos 09:27, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

OK, done. Fayenatic london 18:19, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Lacking a lot of info[edit]

I don't know how this article made it into featured status, but it has a lot of omissions.

  • Grammatical errors (it's/its, etc.)
  • Doesn't address the history of modern mail, just a bunch of ancient systems -- where's the penny black, for instance?
  • Gives little more than a few sentences about the history of postage stamps or the UPU, whereas a little information about them does belong here

Bit of Trivia: as the first postage stamp was issued in the UK (the penny black), the UK is the only country which doesn't have to put its name on its postage stamps. I knew this from a book, but I also seem to recall reading it on Wikipedia a few months ago, but now it isn't here, at Postage stamp or UPU. That could be put back as well. 01:27, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Why don't you fix some of the grammar instead of just putting a tag on the page? This is not an article about postage stamps, Penny Black or UPU but if you look at Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain and Postage stamp design you will find the info you are looking for concerning the country not using its name on stamps—the appropriate place for this information. It was an FA in 2004 until 2006; the criteria has changed since then, so if you had been around you would see the difference in the development of the wiki. Be constructive and bold. Regarding the "ancient systems", that is about the mail systems not about stamps, stamp design, etc., and is part of history and background which is far better then some articles that only have modern information and no background or history. While this article does need some expansion it should not duplicate other data that already exist appropriately elsewhere. Cheers ww2censor 01:42, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure you'll agree with me that there's a better place to put that bit of trivia than Postage stamp design. Surely UPU or Postage stamp would be more logical. As for the history, I just brought the penny black up as an example of the lack of the modern history. It's great that we have ancient systems, but we also firmly need the modern history. It would be like having an article about the history of Police describing Roman lictors at length, while forgetting bobbies and Peel. As for the corrections, I'm a better critic than a writer, I'm afraid. 00:14, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Seems like there and Postal history of the United Kingdom should do fine. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Stealth postage[edit]

This should be included. --Daniel C. Boyer (talk) 13:11, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Why? — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

missing topics?[edit]

I made a redirect from Registered post to Registered mail because that's how I've always remembered it, and I was searching wikipedia for both that and these: Registered delivery, Recorded delivery and Recorded post, all of which do not exist. Does anyone know where they could link to? Could someone add something about these systems (they were different in the UK when I was young!) to this article? -84user (talk) 15:30, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I never heard it called "registered post", but a redirect seems ok. The Mail article is not supposed to cover all aspects of the mail. It should be a reasonably comprehensive overview but should not be overly US, or UK-centric. There are many redlinks on the List of philatelic topics and not doubt many missing topics that need attention. Imho it is best to concentrate to making specific articles better, such as the Mail, Aerophilately, Stamp collecting and Philately but it all takes time. Are you aware of the Portal:Philately and the WikiProject Philately? Cheers ww2censor (talk) 16:33, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I went a bit overboard with redirects. I put each one in wikipedia's search box while looking for an article, or part of an article, about it. According to the UK "museum" there were such things as "Registered Postmarks" and "Registered Packets" though. I've now added those philately links to my watchlist. However, the subarticle on registered mail reads strange to me (a UK person). Registered and recorded did mean different, but related, things. I will try to expand that subarticle and include French and Italian views on the concept.-84user (talk) 23:11, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Most of your redirects should more appropriately be directed to the specific terms, or sections. These could be part of a postal history section, that should be expanded, in Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain. The main mail article should, as previously mentioned, not be either US or UK-centric. In fact some stuff should be moved from the article. It should be a worldwide article and therefore would not contain very detailed country information, unless historically significant. BTW "recorded delivery" has nothing to do with the registered mail service that I know of, unless you can show me a verifiable reference I am going to remove it. I will review your other edits and may need to redirect or revise them, so hope you don't object. Cheers ww2censor (talk) 23:22, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Two missing topics[edit]

Two missing topics of interest to me:

  1. How did postal service develop in England (and in its colonies in North America)? In Jane Austen's famous stories, letters are sent and received, but the exact process is shrouded in mystery.
  2. Why does the USPS have a monopoly on first class mail? Did any government executive or legislator decided that competition by private firms would hurt the general public, or what? --Uncle Ed (talk) 14:08, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
For your first question, see Postal history of the United Kingdom and General Post Office.
For your second, they decided that competition by private firms would hurt the post office's revenue. I'm sure if you dug hard enough in the Congressional Register, you could find the relevant quote, if you needed to source it for an article. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)


I was looking for information to find out how often each country delivers first class mail? Do all countries take Sundays off like the US? Do some countries deliver 7 days per week? I've heard there are some countries that don't even deliver on weekends. Silkyworm (talk) 06:00, 21 November 2010 (UTC)silkyworm

I'm not sure that would be possible. There are parts of the US where mail delivery is still on a once weekly schedule. I'm sure it's all quite variable within countries. You could try working on improving weekend, Saturday, or Sunday, though, to talk about countries like the People's Republic of China who have no earthly reason to honor Saturday or Sunday but still treat the weekend essentially like Europeans. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Mail: correct use of the word[edit]

Is mail the system for carrying and delivering letters? Or can mail be considered the letters themselves? Is it mail, if it doesnt get delivered? MArc S., Danis (talk) 17:34, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Varies between British and American English. Etymologically, though, "mails" were the bags for the letters; can therefore be used by synecdoche for both the bag's contents and delivery; and become "mail" once they are sent even if (as in London fires or Chicago generally) they never arrive. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Template:Postal system[edit]

{{Postal system}} Is courier part of the postal system? Should it have a group within the navbox?

No, it's a parallel issue; but, yes, it should be mentioned among an "alternate" or "private systems" list. — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)


Could one group be titled somehow to show the "flow", as in mailbox --> sorting station --> etc? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 04:09, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

[clarification needed] — LlywelynII 00:21, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

History II[edit]

There absolutely needs to be a general history of mail on Wikipedia, but this article's history section is becoming too long and losing the thread. It's quite interesting to see the different systems around the world (and we could use even more, like the Incas' beads) but for the purposes of this article almost everything before the 1630s could be dealt with along the lines of "modern general mail service developed out of the courier systems devised for royal use". There are so many similarities between these systems and so little relevance to modern mail service that it really isn't doing the readers a service by having two and three pages of how such similar systems repeatedly developed. — LlywelynII 00:31, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Invention of EMail[edit]

This article suffers from the ongoing marketing campaign that electronic mail was invented by an individual in 1978. It is possible that this person first used the term EMAIL at that time. However, the claim that it was invented then is somewhat disputed by history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bigjimslade (talkcontribs) 16:50, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

  • @Bigjimslade: I've tried to remove most of the claims. Let me know if I've missed any. Protonk (talk) 14:14, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Formatting of see also section[edit]

@Ww2censor: The table in the "see also" section causes serious layout problems on mobile devices. "See also" section also normally have 100% font size; there's no particular reason to make it smaller and harder to read. Normally I would use {{div col}} and let the browser decide how many columns there should be, which on a mobile device might only be one or two due to small screen width. However, if there are three separate lists that would result in awkward vertical wrapping of lines, so I think it's best presented as a single list. -- Beland (talk) 16:52, 23 February 2015 (UTC)


I've reverted speculation that the word "post" comes from Persian. Modern dictionaries fairly consistently derive it from the past participle of Latin ponere. The theory of Persian origin requires a reliable source. -- Elphion (talk) 01:12, 16 April 2015 (UTC)