Stamps and Die Cutting
Many different industries use die cutting in order to create final products. Sometimes these final products are things we see and use, and other times the final product will find itself inside another product. One of the most widely and commonly used products that are made with dies are adhesive postage stamps. Below we will be going over a brief history of stamp separation and how die cutting changed the modern day stamp.
The first stamps were printed in long sheets that had to be physically cut by hand. They were called imperforate stamps. The stamps could sometimes be difficult to cut out, as people used knives and scissors, so people would often waste stamps. It could also be a rather time consuming process. This method stopped almost entirely once consistently reliable separation machines were invented. Imperforated stamps were slowly being rendered obsolete.
Henry Archer created the first rouletting machine, which he called”Archer Roulette." Mr. Archer contacted the postmaster general directly with his ideas and they commissioned him to build two prototypes. This was late in the year in 1847. Working with the general post office and Inland Revenue, both machines that were built ended up failed. The system utilized lancet blades that worked on a fly-press principle. The machine design was abandoned, and a year later Archer patented a perforation machine that worked on the stroke principle. The new design worked and proved to be rather valuable; although, it did not make it into service. The patent was purchased in 1853 and then updates were made to the design. David Napier and Sons Ltd. were responsible for this. This was the beginning of the process of perforation.
Stamps became easy to separate, but they weren't self-adhesive. It took roughly 100 years for this technology to come about. They were first created in 1964, but they didn't achieve wide popularity until the early 1990s. They are die cut, which means that they are cut completely apart and are only held together by backing paper. The original backings were once solid pieces of papers, but later they became rouletted for ease of use. Considering perforation was so popular for so long, die cutting is done in a way to simulate the perforations on an individual stamp.
This is only a brief history how stamps came to look the way they did. many people and machines are responsible for the convenience of modern day stamps.