You’ve Got Mail!

34 | WINCHESTERCOLLECTOR.ORG • Summer 2022 YOU’VE GOT MAIL! Early Winchester Advertising Envelopes & Letterheads by Jennifer & Gary Gole Today, many of us use electronic communications in our everyday lives. We are constantly in touch with our family, friends andbusiness associates, from voicemail to email. From 1985 to the early 1990s, the companyAOL (America Online) had launched its email service and the tag line “You’ve got mail!” became a part of our communications landscape. We all take for granted the convenience of instant communications. However, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, communications were quite different. Letters were the primary means of communication. As usual, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was on the cutting edge during their heyday, using everyday communications of the period to promote the sale of their products. Beginning in the late 1880s, Winchester used envelopes and letterheads as an inexpensive way to advertise their newest rifles, shotguns and ammunition. Many of these pieces were so colorful that, thankfully, they were saved for us to collect and enjoy. The earliest envelopes used only black ink but featured Winchester’s iconic Model 1873 rifle on the front. We have seen several examples of these envelopes, all of them addressed to Buffalo Arms Co. in Buffalo, New York. The