Did Pigeons Carry The Mail?
During early times, thousands of years ago, letters and messages were sent from one place to another by trained pigeons in countries like India, China and Persia. But in modern times, the only large scale use of pigeons to deliver mail, took place in Paris during the 1870s, when France and Prussia were at war.
The Prussians had surrounded Paris and for many months, they would not allow anybody or anything, including mail to enter or leave the city.
The French, then found a way to keep their postal service working. They used balloons, which also carried hundreds of homing pigeons. Letters that were sent to Paris were first reduced in size with the help of photography, so that 30,000 letters could be carried on film placed inside a small canister. These canisters were attached to the trained pigeons which flew into the city. Thirty-five pigeon carried the same letters, so that in case some were shot down, at least one would reach the destination.
When the film reached Paris, the film was projected on a large screen, letters were copied by hand and delivered to homes in the city. The system became known as the ‘pigeon post.’