Italy 1933 – Galileo (pneumatic post)
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) made his first appearance on this stamp in 1933 for use in pneumatic postal systems (hence the wording ‘Posta Pneumatica’ on the stamp). Pneumatic post involved placing letters in canisters which were then shot along pipes by compressed air from one Post Office to another. Pneumatic postal systems were set up in several European and American cities, including Rome, Naples, and Milan. Italy was the only country to issue stamps specifically for pneumatic postal use. Two of the designs showed Galileo – this one and a modified version with different face value and colour issued in 1945. The portrait is based on one by Justus Sustermans painted in 1636 when Galileo was aged 72.