Notes from the Past

Post Code

Though the post code systems used by a number of countries vary in detail, all codes have a common objective:  they are intended to standardize the addressing of mail so that it can be handled by mechanized or automated sorting equipment.

On November 3, 1961, the Federal Republic of Germany became the first country to introduce a post code system.  The US put its ZIP code into use on July 1, 1963.

All systems use either a series of numerals, some with spaces or hyphens, or a combination of letters and numerals, such as those used by Canada and Great Britain.

Other countries currently using a form of post code are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy/San Marino/Vatican, Japan, Norway, Philippines, Poland Romania, South Africa/South-West Africa, Sweden, Switzerland/Liechtenstein, the USSR, and Yugoslavia. 


- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Two G-P
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted October 9, 2000

Editor's Note:  Obviously, the list of countries using post codes would have to be considerably updated to bring it up to include current users.  In the United States, the ZIP codes replaced 'zone' designators used in larger cities which, I believe, originated in the 1940s.  ZIP was an acronym for Zoning Improvement Program.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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