GERMANY - GEOGRAPHY AND STATISTICS (cont.)
Posts and Telegraphs
With the exception of Bavaria and Würtemberg, which have administrations of their own, all the German states belong to the system of the reichspost. Since 1874 the postal and telegraphic departments have been combined. Both branches of administration have undergone a surprising development during the last 10 years, especially since the reduction of the postal rates. Germany, including Bavaria and Würtemberg, constitutes with Austria-Hungary a special postal union (Deutsch-Oesterreichischer Postverband), besides forming part of the international postal union. There are no statistics of posts and telegraphs before 1867, for it was only when the North German union was formed that the lesser states resigned their right of carrying mails in favour of the central authority. Formerly the prince of Thurn-and-Taxis was postmaster-general of Germany, but only some of the central states belonged to his postal territory. The seat of management was Frankfort. Of late years the number of post-offices has increased considerably, as will be seen from the following figures, in which the statistics of the Bavarian and Würtemberg post-offices are included, as well as those of the reichspost. In 1872 there were 7400 post-office fort every 23 square miles. In 1877 there were 3194 imperial post-and-telegraph offices, and 3746 imperial post-offices, while the Bavarian post-offices numbered 1243, and those of Würtemberg 499. The following table shows the increase of letter circulation form 1872 to 1877:
The average number of letters to each person is thus a little greater in Germany than it is in Ireland, whereas it is 26 in Scotland and 35 in England. The number of postcards has increased from 26·5 millions in 1872 to 99·3 millions in 1877. The following table shows the general postal circulation during the three years 1875-77
Telegraphs.By combining the postal and telegraphic departments Germany has been saved a large number of officials; but great sums are still spent annually on the extension of the telegraph system. Since 1876 important localities have been brought into communication with Berlin by subterranean wires. This plain is expensive, but under it a considerable saving is anticipated in repairs. The number of telegraph offices in 1877 was 7251, of which about 4600 belonged to the state, and the rest to private railways. The following table shows the progress of the telegraphic system between 1872 and 1877, and the number of messages in these two years:
The increase of messages is insignificant, a circumstance which must be attributed to the recent dullness of trade. On the whole the telegraph is not as yet used to a very great extent in Germany. The number of messages for every 100 inhabitants in 1877 was 33, as compared with 47 in Norway, 49 in Denmark, 54 in Belgium, 58 in the Netherlands, 64 in Great Britain, and 100 in Switzerland.
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