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During the Second World War and in the years of austerity afterwards, it was common to save on paper by using the same envelopes several times.
When a letter was received, it had to be split carefully along the top and not torn. Then, for the next use it was resealed with what was called an 'economy label' - see the picture. Such economy labels were readily available in shops.
Businesses, particularly those which sent out invoices and required cheques in payment, continued to use economy labels for some years. These were ready printed with the return address and were often ready stamped or franked.
Mail to Australia and New Zealand normally went by sea because the much quicker air mail was so expensive. By sea mail took a very long time - six weeks in the case of Australia. This meant that the time from sending to receiving a reply took at least three months. So, as air mail postage was costed by weight, weight needed to be kept down. This meant the use very lightweight paper, known as air mail stationery.
Air mail stationery consisted of special flimsy envelopes, flimsy writing paper and what were known as air letters, also called aerogrammes. The envelopes, which were sold in various stationery outlets, always seemed to have the British colours of red, white and blue round the edge. The air letters were sold by the Post Office. They were single sheets of flimsy paper which served as letters and envelopes combined. When folded into three and stick down, they looked just like an envelope. They were ready franked and printed with the air mail logo and were always blue.