dreamstime_xl_22626627Envelopes have actually been around for a long time. The first envelopes to be used were by the Babylonian in 2000 B.C. They baked clay onto the tablets used for communication; when the recipient received the clay-coated tablet, the clay was broken off. Clay-coated tablets gave way to wax sealed papyrus scrolls, and millennial later, those in England and America were sending square and rectangle envelopes like we use today. Read more about the history of envelope sizes here.

Envelope Size History

In 1876, William Irwin Martin of Samuel Raynor and Company in New York was instrumental in establishing standard envelope sizes, by documenting a list of standard envelope sizes in the Stationer’s Handbook of 1876. With bulk envelope machine manufacturing after the Civil War and the use of various die sizes, the standardization for envelope sizes became necessary.

Standard Envelope Sizes

Though modern envelopes come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles, many of the standard envelope sizes established by Martin are still used today!

Business Sizes

Business envelopes come in several standard sizes and are used for formal correspondences, such as business letters, and bills. The sizes of business envelopes are designated numerically: 6 ¼, 6 1/2, 6 ¾, 7, 7 ¾, 9, 10,11,12,14. These standard sizes are available with a few different flap styles: Make Ready Saver, Fullback Style, Banker’s Flap, and Wallet Flap.


The Ready Saver is the standard business envelope flap style. The Fullback Style is great for graphics or photgraphy printed on the back of the envelope. The Banker’s Flap is like the Ready Saver, but for bulkier mailings, and the Wallet Flap is like The Fullback Style, but also for bulkier mailing packets.

Remittance Envelopes

The Remittance Envelope has the biggest flap of all the envelope styles, but not because it’s purpose is for the bulkiest mailing packets; the purpose of the flap is to be torn off and inserted into the envelope before mailing. The Remittance Style envelope is available in several standard sizes and is usually used for payment collections, as well as, charitable donations.

International Sizes and Social Envelopes

Envelopes mailed internationally have their own standard sizes; the United Kingdom also has their own standards for envelope sizes. Baronia the most popular social envelope style, though envelopes carrying social mail come in a variety of sizes and designs.

Thanks to Martin and years of consistency, finding the right envelope to use for your next mailing is easier.  Yet, knowing what style of particular envelope to order the next time you need to order bulk envelopes can be difficult. Let the envelope experts at Worcester Envelope Company help you! Contact us today for a quote!

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