Envelopes are used for posting letters and packages and are used to provide security and clarity so that a letter or item can be posted safely to the address that it is meant for. In our lives we are surrounded by envelopes and many of us receive a number of correspondences by mail every day yet I doubt that many of us have ever spent time to think about the humble envelope - where it originated or how many different types of envelopes there are.
The history of the envelope is strangely interesting yet it still manages to pass under the radar despite the fact that we are surrounded by these unassuming items throughout our lives. Typically envelopes are flat rectangle shaped pockets into which letters and items can be placed so that they can be transported securely and so that the item can be clearly inscribed with a postal address without damaging what needs to be sent.
Most envelopes are cut out of a single piece of paper that is done in such a way that it can be folded to form a pocket into which a letter is placed. The original piece of paper is typically cut into a shape that can be folded. This can usually be done in three different ways. The piece of paper can be cut into a rhombus or diamond style shape in which the four corners are folded inward to form the envelope.
The top fold of the envelope is not sealed immediately so that the letter can be included before it is closed. The second way in which an envelope is cut and folded is into what is known as a short arm cross. The third type of designed for an envelope is folded from a kite shape. This is used predominantly for envelopes that are fed from a small opening in the top. When the entrance to the envelope is on the short side of the envelope the envelope style is referred to as a pocket.
The majority of envelopes are sealed together using a wax seal or using a gummed flap that can be stuck to the main body of the envelope to form a complete cover for the letter enclosed. The range of different types of sealing method has increased over the years.
Traditionally letters were sealed purely using hot wax that was stamped and cooled to seal the envelope together. Gummed sealing agents have been extremely popular in modern times with the person sealing the letter often required to lick the gum thus enabling the gum to present its adhesive qualities. This would then enable the letter to be stuck together in such a way that it would not open without force. More recently there has been a trend against this form of sealing an envelope.
People are becoming more conscious of the perceived health risk involved in licking envelopes and as a result there has been a move toward envelopes that have strips of adhesive that are covered in a thin film. This film is then removed when the envelope needs to be stuck together. The result is that the adhesive is revealed and can stick to the envelope with ease.
Many modern envelopes also include a window that is cut out of the front of the envelope and is covered in a see through plastic film that makes it possible for the address of the letter to be visible. This means that the person that is sending the letter does not have to write the address on the envelope as well as writing it on the letter. This can result in saving time and the effort for people that need to send out thousands of letters.
Office expert Shaun Parker has an extensive knowledge of the types of envelopes that are available.