At Worcester Envelope Company, we want you to know everything about this small, yet highly effective, medium of communication. In order for you to understand our passion, it’s vital to understand our inception. So, we want to share with our industry secrets and the history behind our passion prior to our founding in 1893.
The earliest use of an envelope dates back to the Babylonians in 2000 B.C.Their messages were written onto tablets and included documents like bookkeeping accounts, deeds, mortgages, and letters. A layer of clay was then baked onto the tablet, enveloping the message. To open, the outer clay “envelope” was crushed. This created a secure way to send messages without interception.
Next, was the use of papyrus developed by the Egyptians and the Chinese variation made of rice and reeds, paper has continually evolved. The first major breakthrough of paper that closely resembles modern paper was mixed from mulberry, hemp, rags,and fishing nets crafted by Ts’ai Lun in the year 105. Paper did not reach Europe until the fourteenth century with the spread of paper mills. Until
the use of the envelope, letters were simply folded and sealed. The exact origin of the modern day envelope has not been pinpointed, but we know that it took place in the 1800s.
Since progressing from baking clay and hand-carrying wax-sealed letters, envelopes today are either made from paper or polyethylene and our technology now allows us to make paper from any wood. This gives paper more diversity, from higher quality envelopes which derive from cotton to manila envelopes which come from hemp found in the Philippines. Worcester Envelope is proud to offer a variety of paper options with unique features for your bulk business envelope designs. These include coated and uncoated options available in our selection of specialty papers.
From baking clay around messages to personalized wax seals, it was time to create an easier way to seal messages. It wasn’t until the late 1860s, however, that an envelope sealant could be mass produced. As seen today, envelope glue, or gum seal, is the most cost effective and versatile form of sealing envelopes. This sticky substance is concocted from gum arabic, which is hardened sap extracted from acacia trees. It contains natural adhesive molecules that are designed to be moistened and remoistened with water-based substances. For a more detailed explanation on envelope glue, please read The Truth About Envelope Glue.
Although we use envelopes in such a high volume today, it is interesting to note that aside from the Babylonian clay technique, envelopes did not largely exist until the 1800s. Until it was commercialized, letters were either folded or rolled and sealed. With this new commercialization, envelopes became a necessity to protect their contents safe during transport.
Worcester Envelope offers competitive methods for a safe and reliable transport to meet today’s standards of mailing and leaders in today’s innovative technology. With our knowledge of both the past and the present, trust us to be your key to future success with Worcester envelopes.