How Much Do We Really Know About Envelopes?

Shaun Parker asked:

People use envelopes as a method of preserving items that they wish to post. They are also useful in that they provide secrecy about what the person wishes to send and they also provide a large blank space upon which the address of the recipient can be placed. This enables people that want to post an item a great deal of benefits over posting an item without containing it in a secure package.

There are millions of mail correspondences made every day and the envelope industry is thriving. There are thousands of different varieties of envelopes and event these simple little items have a long history. The humble envelope has developed a great deal over the years and there is a lot more to the envelope than may first meet the eye. These unassuming little items surround us in our lives but how much do we really know about envelopes?

Envelopes are typically formed from a single sheet of paper that is cut and folded in a specific way which makes them suitable for different types of letters and packages that need to be enveloped. The original piece of paper is usually cut into a different size and shape depending on the type of envelope it will become. There are a couple of standard shapes which are later folded to create an envelope these are the rhombus and the diamond. Both of these shapes can be folded to form a square or rectangular envelope. This means that these shapes can be folded and sealed together whilst leaving a flap that can be left open for someone to put an item into the envelope with the remaining fold capable of being sealed by the person using the envelope.

There are three ways in which the envelope is formed the first is using the aforementioned rhombus or diamond shape that is folded to create a pocket which can be sealed later. The second method of creating an envelope is using a short arm cross technique. This technique results in an envelope that can be fed from the top. These types of envelopes are formed from a kite shape and the envelope is typically a thinner rectangle shape when complete. The letter is put in the envelope via an entrance on the short end of the completed envelope. These envelopes that are sealed on the short end are known as pocket envelopes. These types of envelope seem to be extremely popular with companies that send out large quantities of mail correspondence.

The method of sealing an envelope closed has differed greatly over the years. In the past the method of sealing an envelope has been very difficult. Throughout the years a number of different sealing agents have been used. Traditionally the letters were sealed using wax that was heated and stamped with an individual’s crest. This meant that it was possible to know who a letter had been sent from before even opening the letter.

In recent years glue has been developed that can be licked and this activates the adhesive. This means that people can seal envelopes themselves. Modern envelopes have taken away the need to lick the sealant and instead offer a pull off strip which reveals the adhesive. This is said to be much more hygienic.

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