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Envelopes: More Than You Ever Imagined

I've got a question for you:

What's been around since long before the Middle Ages, has been made of clay, skin, leaves and papyrus, has been delivered by dogsleds, balloons, rockets, pneumatic tubes, mules and horses, submarines and the space shuttle, and is manufactured to the tune of 400 billion annually? Furthermore, it's in no danger of being replaced by computers or anything else for that matter.

OK! The title of this section kind of gives it away. But the other thing the introduction didn't mention it is that the history of the envelope is pretty darn interesting. First it might interest you to know that they've been around for over five thousand years, even longer than DMIA! The first recorded use of envelopes is around 3250 B. C. in the Near East - Egypt, Syria and Iraq - around there. At that time envelopes played a key role as a precursor to accounting systems, which developed eventually into the invention of writing.

The recording of possessions like mortgages, sizes of herds, and other forms of wealth was to place small clay symbols or figurines into what were the first envelopes; they would then be kept in a neutral and safe site so that if disputes arose the records could be accessed. The envelopes that contained this information were also made of clay in the form of hollow balls, with the symbol of what was inside written on the outside and the seal of the wealthy person on the outside as well.

The use of envelopes as we know them began to take form around 2400 B. C. by the Pharaohs in Egypt. They would form sheets of clay and when it was in its plastic stage carefully fold the sheet over the tablet, or document written on leaves, skins or papyrus, then they would crimp the package all around the edges forming an extremely secure document.

 
 

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