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Inventive Britain

Stamp name: COLOSSUS world's first electronic computer

Value: First Class

Release date: 19 February 2015

About this stamp

Tommy Flowers led the development of Colossus, a machine built during the Second World War to decipher secret messages that ultimately helped win the war. Colossus is considered the world’s first computer.

The Inventive Britain Special Stamps collection celebrates the nation’s long and rich history of technological and scientific innovation.

The collection consists of eight special stamps – issued as four se-tenant strips of two stamps – depicting the following inventions: Colossus, the World Wide Web, Catseyes, Fibre Optics, Stainless Steel, Carbon Fibre, DNA Sequencing and the i-limb.

The stamps’ designers created original visual interpretations for six of the stamps, while two were designed using existing imagery and computer-generated illustration.

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Design GBH
Stamp format/size Square 35mm x 35mm
Printer International Security Printers
Print process Lithography
Perforation 14.5 x 14.5 
Phosphor Bars as appropriate 
Gum PVA 
Number per sheet 30/60

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Presentation Pack
The Presentation Pack was designed on a science-style graph-paper grid featuring an outline of the Union Flag. The title typography comprises a CAD-style graphic treatment, with aspects of the inventions forming part of the letters’ construction.

Written by Dr Lesley Paterson of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the editorial content consists of an overview of the subject of British innovation, as well as a summary of each invention, referencing the key people behind the success stories and providing an insight into how the ground-breaking work was achieved.

First Day Cover
The First Day Cover, designed by GBH, features a graphic representation of the Union Flag in the background. To complement the Presentation Pack design, the title typography comprises a CAD-style graphic treatment, with aspects of the inventions forming part of the letters’ construction.

Postmarks
Two special pictorial postmarks were created by Royal Mail to accompany the Inventive Britain Special Stamp collection.

The first postmark, made available as a handstamp at Tallents House, Edinburgh, features a line drawing of the i-limb holding a postage stamp – the Edinburgh location coincides neatly with the fact that the device was developed in the Scottish capital.

The alternative handstamp references Harlow, the town in Essex where fibre optics were invented, and features a cross-section of a fibre-optic cable. The non-pictorial ‘First Day of Issue’ postmark was also available in Harlow.