Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Inventive Britain - stamp issue 19 February 2015

The United Kingdom has a long and rich history as an inventive nation. The Inventive Britain stamp issue celebrates this vital and creative aspect of the national character with eight key inventions of the past century in a range of disciplines and applications, from materials to medicine. From the splitting of the atom to the discovery of penicillin to the jet engine and in vitro fertilisation, Britain’s creative and resourceful spirit has not been bound by any particular field, crossing the breadth of science and technology, engineering and medicine. The eight inventions featured on the stamps, from the mighty Colossus to super-strong carbon fibres, comprise only a handful of the transformative great British inventions from the 20th and 21st centuries.
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Inventive Britain stamps.
Stamp Set - in vertical se-tenant pairs

1st Class
– Colossus; World Wide Web.   81p - Catseyes; Fibre Optics

£1.28 - Stainless Steel; Carbon Fibre.   £1.47 - DNA Sequencing; i-Limb bionic hand.
Prestige Stamp Book.

  Inventive Britain PSB pane 1 actual.. Inventive Britain PSB Pane 2.

Pane 1 -  2 x 1p, 3 x 2p, 1 x 81p, 2 x 97p Machin definitives with security codes MPIL M14L

Pane 2 - 1st Class United Kingdom A to Z Stamp Bletchley Park,  2 x 1st Class Briton of Distinction Alan Turing, 1 x 81p Inventive Britain Stamps

Inventive Britain PSB Pane 3. Inventive Britain PSB Pane 4.
Pane 3 - 2 x 81p, 1 x £1.28 and 1 x £1.47 Inventive Britain Stamps

Pane 4 - 1 x £1.28 1 x £1.47 and 2 x 1st Class Inventive Britain Stamps

Inventive Britain PSB Cover. 
PSB front cover

Machin images

1p M14L MPIL from InventiveBritain PSB. 2p M14L MPIL MAchin from Inventive Britain PSB.
 81p M14L MPIL MAchin from Inventive Britain PSB. 97p M14L MPIL MAchin from Inventive Britain PSB.

Comparison with earlier stamps.

The colour of the 81p stamps is quite unlike that of its sheet counterpart, and very close to the Roald Dahl 68p - and the earlier 20p and 47p.
Royal Mail have acknowledged: "The 81p stamp on the Machin pane of the PSB has been printed in ‘Sea Green’ instead of ‘Holly Green’. This was not a planned change of colour."

81p counter sheet and 81p booklet stamp.  68p Roald Dahl stamp and 81p Inventive Britain stamp.

The stamps in detail

1st Class Colossus – The world’s first electronic digital computer
Inventor: Tommy Flowers.  The world's first electronic computer deciphered coded messages sent between Berlin and battlefield commanders via the Germans' Lorenz cypher machine in World War 2.  Flowers was a Post Office engineer based at Dollis Hill in London, and he constructed the first Colossus in December 1943.

1st Class World Wide Web – Revolutionary global communications system
Inventor: Tim Berners-Lee.  A software Engineer at CERN in Switzerland in the 1980s Berners-Lee realised that visiting scientists to the laboratory were limited in the ways in which theycould share information.  He saw the Internet as a way to achieve data sharing.  He created the technology that forms the basis for the World Wide Web.  Protocols he developed include HTML the computer mark-up language which forms the basis of this and every page, and the way in which they are linked.

81p Catseyes - Light reflecting road safety innovation
Inventor - Percy Shaw.   The inventor of a road-surfacing business, Shaw invented Catseyes in 1934 but they only took off a decade later when demand increased considerably during the blackouts of World War 2.   The studs are simply four glass beads, covered with a reflective layer that captures the glow of headlights and beams it back out.  The beads are set in a rubber housing inserted in a cast-iron base.  The flexible rubber casing allows the reflectors to sink down into the road surface when driven over, which prevents them from damage and cleans them with rainwater caught in the base.    

81p Fibre Optics – Pioneering rapid-data-transfer technology
Inventors Charles Kao and George Hockham.  Fibre optic cables form a global communications network that transmits massive amounts of digital information - internet, telephone, email - at amazingly fast speeds.  It is the technological foundation of the internet.  Kao and Hockham first demonstrated the possibilities in 1966.  The first trans-Pacific copper cable could handle less than 100 phones calls at once: today's fibre optic system can carry over a billion calls simultaneously.

£1.28 Stainless Steel – Non-corrosive, versatile, 100% recyclable alloy
Inventor - Harry Brearley.   In 1914 Brearley created the first commercially-viable corrosion-resistant stainless steel, a mix of iron, carbon and at least 11% chromium.  He originally called it 'rustless steel'.   Stainless steel is very versatile, being used for heart valves and scalpels to everyday uses in cutlery, washing machine drums, road tankers and razors.

£1.28 Carbon Fibre – High strength, lightweight, composite material
Inventor - William Watt.  Carbon fibres are thin filaments integrated into resin and baked to create a reinforced plastic,much stronger but much lighter than metal.  US scientists were researching how to produce carbon fibre in the 1950s-60sbut it was the Scotsman Watt who manufactureda superior version of the substance in 1964.  Used where lightness and toughness are important: spacecraft, aircraft, wind turbines and racing cars.

£1.47 DNA Sequencing – Revolution in understanding the genome
Inventor - Frederick Sanger.  In the 1960s-70s Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Dr Sanger developed a ground-breaking method of mapping the DNA, the chemical code in our bodies' cells containing the instructions for creating life-building proteins.  By analysing the strands of DNA Sanger discerned the sequence, enabling later scientists to sequence the human genome, which in turn helps transform modern medicine and treatment.

£1.47 i-limb. – Bionic hand with individually powered digits

Inventor - David Gow.  A revolutionary bionic hand, the i-limb boasts a rotatable thumb and individually articulated fingers.  Invented by Gow, a former National Health Service employee, it was launched in 2007.  A user merely needs to think about a handmovement to transmit anelectronic signal from their brain to manipulate muscles in their arm. 

The Inventive Britain Prestige Stamp Book celebrates the genius of the inventive British mind. Starting with the origins of stainless steel and concluding with the creation of the i-limb, writer Eugene Byrne reveals the background to all eight inventions and describes how each was developed and reached its potential. An informative timeline, relevant to each invention, also runs throughout the book.

Eugene Byrne is an author and historical researcher based in Bristol. He edits the local history section of the Bristol Post and is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines on history and heritage. He has written numerous Royal Mail products, mainly on science and technology subjects, including the Charles Darwin PSB, Concorde Medal Cover, The Royal Society Presentation Pack and PSB, the Halley’s Comet Commemorative Sheet, the 2010 Yearpack and the David Livingstone Commemorative Sheet.

Technical details:

The stamps are designed by GBH and printed by International Security Printers in lithography.  Each stamp is 35 x 35mm, and printed in sheets of 30/60 (5 rows of 6).  

Design credits:   Colossus, Catseyes, Stainless Steel, Carbon Fibre, DNA Sequencing and ilimb stamp imagery created by GBH, 2015 © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2015;   World Wide Web – Internet blog map image © Matthew Hurst/Science Photo Library:  Fibre Optics – CGI illustration by Gecko Animation Limited; Catseyes is a registered trade mark of Reflecting Roadstuds Ltd; i-limb is a registered trade mark of Touch EMAS Limited t/a Touch Bionics.

Product range - we will not be stocking these products except for stamps from the Prestige Stamp Book and on FDC.

Set of 8 stamps         Presentation Pack     First Day Cover     Set of 8 Stamp Cards    Prestige Stamp Book    Coin Cover   

Special Postmarks available on the day of this issue will be shown here. 

These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.  These images are not be to scale.

Official Bureau first day postmark for Inventive Britain stamps.
Official Harlow first day postmark for Inventive Britain stamps. Official Harlow non-pictorial first day postmark for Inventive Britain stamps.
RAF Farnborough postmark for Inventive Britain stamps.
Cats-eyes on Patent Office postmark for Inventive Britain stamps.
Ref FD1505TH
Official Bureau postmark
Ref FD1505PL
Harlow official first day of issue postmark
Ref FD1505NP
Harlow non-pictorial official first day of issue postmark
Ref L13333
(A380 Airbus) Carbon Fibre, RAF Farnborough, Hampshire
Ref L13332 Patent No 436290, 1935, Patent Office, Southampton Building, London WC2
Reaching for the Stars postmark Cambridge.
World Wide Web postmark for Inventuve Britain stamps. Two postmarks about the World Wide Web. Stampex postmark for Inventive Britain.
Ref L13335 Reaching for the Stars, Cambridge. Ref M13338 Millennium Point Curzon Street, Birmingham Ref L13344 London (Birthplace of Tim Berners-Lee) Ref L13345 Bletchley, Milton Keynes
Ref L13346 Spring Stampex Inventive Britain First Day of Issue London N1
Postmark showing electronic hand.

Ref S13358
Dumfries (Birthplace of David Gow)
DNA Postmark, Gloucester.

M13354 Gloucester (Birthplace of Frederick Sanger)

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This page updated 10 February 2015

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