Evolution of the Thai Post Box

In 1880, Chao Muen Samuhjairaj submitted a letter to propose the opening of a post office in Thailand to King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V). The King agreed and appointed His Royal Highness Somdetch Phra Chao Nong Ya Tho Chao Fa Bhanurangsi Swangwong Krom Luang Bhanuphandhuwong Wordej as the first Director-General of the Post Department because of his experience in the distribution of a daily newspaper called Khow Ratchakarn (public service news).The inauguration of postal service on trial by accepting letters and books in both Phranakorn and Thonburi sides of Bangkok began on August 4, 1883. The first post office was located in a large building by the Chao Phraya River, at the northern side of Ong-Ang canal (now replaced by the bridge running parallel with the Memorial Bridge). This building was named Praisaneeyakarn (the postal building).

The earliest post boxes to be found in Thailand date from 1883 and are of a square, distinctly Chinese-derived design. One of these still exists on my home island of Phuket where it serves as a popular photo backdrop outside of the main branch of Kasikorn Bank (itself a wonderfully restored example of Sino-Portuguese architecture).

The famous cast-iron pillar boxes, first developed on Jersey in the Channel Islands as early as November 1852, were not imported to Thailand until 1911. Most of these came from Great Britain and, later, Singapore. In basic form these boxes were vertical ‘pillars’ with a horizontal slot to received letters, flaps preventing rain from finding its way inside below a slightly protruding cap.

The design was modified again in 1926 with a larger, boxier shape with increased capacity. A much smaller version was introduced in 1953. In 1973, the first post boxes with separate compartments for “Bangkok” and “Other Places” began to be distributed around the country. Modified designs were also first made in 1971 and 1973.


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