Yes you want this. You want it a lot! Yes you do. Christmas is coming – angels blow these things don’t you know? Very festive, very decorative.
This splendid horn is 38 inches long and about 4¾ inches across the bell. It is made of copper with a brass mouthpiece and a brass band round the middle of the stem. It tapers pleasingly. We have no idea how old it is.
We have guessed the postage. If you are interested in buying this we will go to the post office and ask them how much to post this post horn. We think they may look at us a bit strangely. We will charge postage at cost - like we always try to do.
The small print.
Starting in 1784, letters sent by Royal Mail travelled by Mail Coach. These were special stagecoaches that carried few or no passengers. They averaged a speed of eleven miles an hour - a great deal faster than other coaches. They had a uniformed guard who carried a clock, a couple of guns and a Post Horn.
The standard horn issued by the post office was made of tin and was three feet long. Guards, however, rather prided themselves on their horn-blowing, so they usually acquired horns made of copper or brass which were more melodious in tone.
The post horn was a recognized signal: the mail coaches travelled the toll roads free of charge so the post horn was sounded to alert tollgate keepers to open the gate (40 shilling fine should they fail). Some other calls were: clear the road, coming by, pulling up, turning right, and turning left and coach about to depart.
The post horn call alerted the postmasters at pick-up sites to have the mail bag ready to toss to the guard and also warned ostlers to prepare a fresh team of horses.