[SIGCIS-Members] Royal Mail Postage Stamp commemorating Colossus

Ian S. King isking at uw.edu
Sun Feb 1 10:07:57 PST 2015

That is exciting!  Brian, here in the US such commemorative postage stamps
are usually available in a 'proof' form.  Do you know how those of us on
the other side of the pond might acquire such, if they are printed?

On Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 2:42 AM, Brian Randell <brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk
> wrote:

>  Hi:
>  The Royal Mail has at last revealed details of their plans for a
> commemorative postage stamp featuring Colossus. I have known of this plan
> for some time as I was commissioned (in confidence) last year to write a
> section on Tommy Flowers for the chapter in the next Royal Mail Year Book
> about the new stamp series. (A rather brief press release by Royal Mail
> itself indicates that "each of the eight special stamps depict key
> inventions created by British inventors over the last century: Colossus,
> World Wide Web, Catseyes, Fibre Optics, Stainless Steel, Carbon Fibre, DNA
> Sequencing, i-limb" - see
> http://www.royalmail.com/personal/stamps-collectibles-gifts/look-forward-into-2015
> .)
>  The attached picture and text in fact comes from a scanned copy of the
> February 2015 British Philatelic Bulletin, rather than directly from the
> Royal Mail., which I received today. I had not seen the design of the stamp
> before, so only now - to my annoyance - do I find that it describes
> Colossus as “the first electronic digital computer” - my own text takes
> care to use the phrase “the first programmable electronic digital computer”.
>  I have pointed out this problem to the Royal Mail, but have been told
> that it is too late for it to be corrected - the stamps are to be issued
> next month. (I have learned that the Royal Mail were given some rather poor
> advice, so I don’t blame them.)
>  However I am nevertheless delighted that Colossus is being commemorated
> by the Royal Mail, and by the growing public recognition especially here in
> the UK of Tommy Flowers’ great contribution.
>  Cheers
>  Brian Randell
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Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS
Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School
University of Washington

An optimist sees a glass half full. A pessimist sees it half empty. An
engineer sees it twice as large as it needs to be.
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