Sunday 27 September 2015

Regional Costumes

A place of windmills, thatched houses and home made beer, ruled over in the past by Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia.  This is Estonia's largest island, Saaremaa. One of the 2013 Folk Costume set features the Karja who live in the north east of that island.  The Maximum card shows a young married woman wearing one of the typical hats of the area which can be of floral or geometric design.  The stamp itself
shows an elderly couple wearing the long coats originating in the 19th Century, the mittens are an essential part of the attire which are stuck in the belt when not keeping hands warm.  I imagine those mittens are an essential in a Baltic winter.

The next stamp shows the detail of a costume possibly most recognisably Portuguese on the left
2007: Regional Costumes
the bright colours of the Lavradeira  The elaborate embroidery and gold necklaces of the stamp on the right is the equivalent for a wedding.

Next we have costumes mostly associated with places of work starting

on the left with the Capa de Honras (Cloak of Honours) worn by cattle keepers and shepherds in the coldest months in the north of Portugal.  The next stamp is the Pauliteiro from the north east of the country worn by men performing a warrior dance to bagpipes. The origin of the skirt is unknown but some think it may have a Greek influence.  The embroidered ships on the next item give a clue to its origin for this is a Camisola de Pescador, a Fisherman's Shirt.  Lastly a most unusual item of clothing, the Cape of Reeds worn by shepherds (usually accompanied with a straw hat).

Heading to the seaside for the next stamp on the left

it is a costume from Nazare consists of seven skirts.  In the past the women would sit on the beach waiting for the men to return from fishing, perhaps they were counting the waves in skirt numbers (the seventh wave is always the largest). The red waistcoat on the next stamp is that of a campino, a horse backed cattle herder who manages and directs the cattle with long poles.  The next costume is from the Algarve camponesa (where there is a museum dedicated to regional costumes).  Lastly we have the Alentejo Capote, a winter coat which has a deep opening at the back to make it easier for horse riding.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme of - Folk or National Costumes - travel the world in costume here    

Sunday 20 September 2015

Industrial Power

Germany celebrated the world's first long distance transmission and the 'Centenary of Three-Phase Energy Transmission' in 1991 with this rather pretty stamp.  The 175k (109 miles) of overhead cable ran from Lauffen am Neckar to Frankfurt am Main and marked the end of the "War of Currents" with the system that would span the world. The event was part of the International Electro-Technical Exhibition which took place from May to October in 1891 on the site of three former railway stations.  Lit with a 1000 lights, illuminated signs and an artificial waterfall powered by electric current (rather ironically as the whole system was hydro-powered) the crowds came to marvel.  Lauffen castle (shown on the stamp) has information boards telling the story of this great occasion but here is the story in photographs.  As they say a picture tells a thousand words so here is a drawing of the entrance to the exhibition complete with waterfall on the right.
For another of those light-bulb moments this set of stamps
was  issued for 'Industry Year' in 1986 showing a light bulb and a north sea drilling rig (energy), A thermometer and pharmaceutical lab (health)
A garden hoe and steelworks (steel) and lastly a loaf of bread and cornfields (agriculture). 

The stamps were designed by Keith Bassford (1949-) a graphic designer who was actually employed by the British Post Office in 1976, first for the corporate section and then later moving into stamps and philatelic products. I can't see that happening nowadays when their first thought seems to be to go to the photographic library and stick it on a stamp with the minimum of design effort. Bassford's expertise in stamps and philatelic products meant he used to be a popular speaker to specialist organisations.  Moving to Denmark in 1986 he continued to produce stamps for Royal Mail but also for the Danish Post Office and his work is exhibited in Denmark's Graphic Museum located in Odense (birth place of Hans Christian Andersen) who from their publicity photograph seem to have some cracking old printing presses.  The city is also home to Keith Bassford and his wife's studio where he continues with graphic design and letterpress printing.  He also has some interesting old typefaces featured on his Flickr account here although sadly his enthusiasm must have run out at that point because there is nothing else on his account.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme of  - Technology/Industry - for more bright sparks go here

Sunday 13 September 2015

Linking Bridges

Here is the Clifton Suspension bridge airily spanning the Avon river gorge in Bristol and one of the iconic bridges of Britain.  It was Isambard Kingdom Brunel's first major commission when he won the competition to design a bridge over the gorge at just 24 years old and he was appointed project engineer.  Construction was delayed for decades (1831-1864) and on his death in 1859 after a glorious engineering career it was felt by the Institute of Civil Engineers that the completion of the bridge would be a fitting tribute to their colleague.  Designed for pedestrians and horse drawn traffic the structure today carries traffic that Brunel would never have envisaged.   The cover celebrates its 150 years in 2014
with one of the bicentenary of the birth of Brunel stamps issued in 2006.  In fact this was a set I nearly went with this week as it includes three of his bridges but then I found this autumnal FDC which I thought was much more attractive and also so appropriate for the time of year. (The stamp shows a lithograph from 1834 of the bridge).  Now let us take a train trip
This set is called "The Baltic Railway Bridges" and was a joint issue between the three Baltic states. The Estonian cover features a black and white photo of the concrete Sindi rail and road bridge over the River Pärnu which opened , as they say "festively" in February 1928, the traffic regulated by a bridge guard.  I like the double header stream trains.  The cancel is of the Ahja Railway Bridge on the Tartu-Petseri Railway completed in 1931.  But lets look at the stamps left to right.
The first shows Estonia's Narva Bridge, the first built to span the river was in 1869, a stronger one had to be built next to it in 1902 but was destroyed in World War I. A new rail bridge, and the last iron bridge built in Estonia, was opened in December 1923 (162 metres) but destroyed in World War II as indeed was most of the city of Narva by either the Russians or the Germans. (I can't work out whether they have rebuilt this bridge or replaced it as all the photos I've found seem to show a different shape). However I am sure about the sparklingly new Swiss built Stadler FLIRT passenger train shown on the stamp which Estonia had ordered to replace their old trains and expected to be in use soon after the stamp issue but they eventually all came into service in 2013.
The middle stamp is Latvia's Carnikava Bridge, a metal bridge over the Gauja built in 1950 (220.8 metres). A rather nice picture showing it in context appears on Panoramio here
Lastly is Lithuania's longest and highest bridge, the Lyduvinai shown with an equally long goods train.   This stamp issue links three countries but the next stamp shows a bridge directly linking two countries
Liechtenstein with Switzerland ,and is part of the second issue of "Bridges Bring Together" featuring foot and cycle bridges. To journey between the two countries over the Rhine (which marks the border) at one time required a ferry and it was not until 1868 that a bridge was built but it burned down in 1894, the next wooden bridge built in 1896 collapsed with a fire. No wonder they turned to concrete for the present one.
The stamps and maximum cards show two view  of the Rhine Bridge
which links Bendern (Liechtenstein) and Haag (Switzerland).  Guess we are in high summer when the photo on the card was taken, which would be the ideal time to take a cycle ride.
Buchs to Schaan Bridge
This 132 metre bridge is a happy spin off from a large construction project and is the visible part of 6 kilometres of  an underground steam pipeline which brings process steam from a refuse incineration plant in Buchs (Switzerland) to industry in Liechtenstein.
Who would guess that from this peaceful view?. 

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - Bridges to Anywhere - cross over here to see more.           

Sunday 6 September 2015

Underground Overground

For this week's Sunday Stamps theme I'm going with the mining aspect mainly because I think I've shown most of my mineral stamps before.  Where better to start than South Africa who over the years have issued a lot on this theme, although I only have some early examples such as this definitive stamp from the 1930s of a Gold Mine.
Here comes the next process of heating and pouring the gold. If the tourist heads to Gold Reef City, Johannesburg you can take a ride on a miniature railway, and go underground to see the gold and then watch a gold pour.  Not sure that it will be on the same scale as that shown on the stamp.   South African mines hold 50% of the world's gold reserves but of course the other thing the country is famous for is
diamonds and one makes an appearance on the 1965 set for the 5th Anniversary of the Republic

1986: Rock Formations
But lets head for the light and journey above ground amongst the granite of the Paarl Mountains in the Western Cape, their name means pearl rock. 
Staying in Africa here are the tin mines of Nigeria.  When this definitive stamp was first issued in 1953 that was the year the country exported 11,942 tons of tin and earned £8.55M but with fluctuating tin prices and the discovery of oil today it is a past industry.  There is still informal mining by the locals who dig holes in the ground to access the tin but it can be a dangerous business with collapsing tunnels.  In the olden days they used to call these type of people prospectors which is where the next Australian stamp comes in
and the Broken Hill Silver Mine first prospected in 1883, the reason for its name no longer exists the hill having been mined away.  The aborigines name for the hills was the more romantic Leaping Crest.  Broken Hill (nickname Silver City) is located in the outback of New South Wales and is Australia's longest lived mining city although mining is no longer the main industry it contains the world's largest silver-lead-zinc deposits.
1955: Five Year Plan
In China here is some sort of underground machinery grinding its way along a tunnel and lastly
1954: Industrial Development
is how it all might start with the geological survey team arriving at a rock face. 

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme of - Rocks, Gems and Minerals - discover more here