The idea of creating the mechanical means for printing
postage has arisen soon after postal administrations
started using adhesive stamps. The adhesive stamps were
convenient for personal use, but they made too much
overhead for big companies, which were sending many
letters. A lot of inventors from different countries
tried to create equipment for printing postage directly
onto envelopes and post offices installed these machines
as an experiment.
In June 1903 the first franking machines were installed
in Norway, and then, in 1904 in New Zealand, and then
Great Britain started using them in 1912. Only after
almost twenty years of experiments, it was allowed to
use franking machines for first class mail in the United
States. On December 10, 1920 the first letter franked by
meter stamp was accepted in Stamford, Connecticut.
After that, franking machines appeared in Australia,
Germany, France, Italy, and other European countries.