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Austro-Hungarian Empire: Postal Jack

Last modified: 2014-04-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: austro-hungarian empire | postal jack |
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[Postal jack] image by Željko Heimer, 9 October 2007

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Description of the Jack

In 1842 the Emperor Ferdinand I granted the right to the Austrian Lloyd for bearing of the post flag as the jack (and also the masthead pennant) indicating the privilege these ships have in carrying postal service. Since 1849 this was also granted to the Danube Steam Shipping Company (DDSG). Lehnert describes the flag as black and yellow with an eagle and a postal horn over the both fields. The French Naval "Album" of 1858 shows the flag somewhat more elaborate (according to which I drew it). The inscription I.R.POSTE presumably means Imperial and Royal Post in some language (French? strange but not quite unusual choice, if so, but wouldn't them be "Poste Impériale et Royale"...)

The sources show initials FJ.I standing for Emperor Franz Joseph I, presumably before 1848 (when FJ.I took the throne), the original flag was inscribed F.I for Ferdinand I.

The use of the flag by Lloyd was discontinued in 1866, while the DDSG retained the practice at least until the end of the century, but only in the Austrian part of the Dual Empire and abroad (i.e. not in the Hungarian waters - the flagging practice for Danube shipping was quite complicated, the ships were exchanging flags depending on which waters they were in).

- Josef von Lehnert: "Beiträge zur Geschichte der k. k. Flagge. Vortrag, gehalten im militär-wissenschaftlichen Verein zu Wien am 13. März 1885", Organ der militär-wissenschaftlichen Vereine, nr. 31, Mayer, Wien 1886 p. 20
- Le Gras: "Album des pavillons, guidons et flammes de toutes les puissances maritimes", Dépôt des Cartes et Plans de la Marine, Paris, 1858. p. 8
- Ivan Sache at FOTW, 9 Nov 2003