The post horn is a horn- shaped circular curved, high brass instrument brass with bright, penetrating sound for making the sound signals. As a natural horn can be created with it only the tones of the harmonic series.


Long before there was an organized post, we took advantage of the early Middle Ages the horn as a signal instrument. Metzger blowing before departure to purchase cattle in animal horns, which they won by their cattle. So they signaled that they were willing to take letters on their routes (see also: Butcher mail).

The first horns were made ​​of metal beginning of the 15th century. Since the 16th century bore the postilions, the driver of the stagecoach, such a horn with him, with the announcing departure and arrival of the stagecoach. This took over the post of the von Thurn und Taxis and reached for the blowing of the horn Post a privilege, as well as for the entire mailing. In 1507 the Thurn und Taxis family was granted the sole use of the post-horn, resulting in quasi developed a keen eye on a guarded trademark. Postillione needed to pay no Wegzoll.

Move the postillion took the post horn (similar to today's motorists the horn) to warn other road users before the approaching carriage or to urge them to make room, as the stagecoach had priority. Also, opening the city gates and demand notice on the relay stations for changing horses have been reported with different signal melodies before arrival. These were usually from the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th of natural tones.

Who as a traveler, businessman or ordinary messenger unauthorized blew a horn post, had to go to the General Prussian postal order, a fine of twelve thalers pay or risked in special cases, corporal punishment. In the 18th century instruments came instead of the simple horn with up to three turns and a plurality of apertures in use. A postilion, who did not get along with the signals, threatened dismissal, while, conversely, an outstanding virtuoso was rewarded with an honorary post horn. In the German kingdoms of Saxony and Prussia military post trumpets were 1828-1870 demonstrably modeled after the signal trumpets in the cavalry in D or Eb tuning, and only then post again horns used by the postilions.

In Switzerland, you can still hear the classic pitch tone when the yellow postal buses drive through narrow and blind curves. The sound then answer echoes for miles through the valleys and arouses in many a little sentimental. Each and every Swiss Swiss can probably sing the song tü -ta- tooo - poschtautooo (Eng. " tii -ta- tooo - Postautooo "). The design comes from the Andante of the overture to Rossini's William Tell and successively used the 5th, 3rd and 4th natural.

Even today, the post horn is a symbol of letter and parcel delivery.

Use of post horns

Moving with the times

The geographer Johann Gottfried Gregorii recommended in 1713 in a theoretical basis of cartography and the uniform use of the post-horn as a signature for the identification of post offices in maps.

Many postal operators now use the post horn as a company logo. Thus, the German Federal Post Office and the German Post AG. The German Federal Post Office was a public company, which had in addition to the normal postal system also has the task to be active in the telecommunications sector. With the privatization now fell off this task and therefore the German Post AG has a slightly different logo. The difference in the two arrows that represented ( for the telecommunications sector ) actually stylized lightning. A satire on the post horn symbol is the " Pesthörnchen ", which functioned Computer Club because of copyright issues as the logo of the chaos to the setting.

Service flag of the German Federal Post Office: Federal postal flag (1950-1994)

Service flag of the Deutsche Post of the GDR

Post Horn representation of the German Federal Post Office 1950-1979

Official design drawing of the post-horn from March 1979

Post horn with stylized flashes of DBP since 1979 and briefly also DPAG

Posthorn Deutsche Post AG

Austrian Post

Postbus Swiss Post

Posthorn the Royal Swedish Post, see also Postal History of Sweden

Spanish mailbox

Norway Post, see also postal history of Norway

Mailbox in Denmark

Mailbox in Poland

In local coat of arms

On Stamps

Among the most famous post horns on stamps should the notice published in the early 1950s definitives Posthornsatz the German Federal Post belong. But there are also at irregular intervals to further expenditure on which a post horn is shown. There are also postal and Nebenstempel, show the post horns.

Postal History and Stamps of Austria (1918 )

Postal History and Stamps of Hanover

Airmail stamp in 1919

German Empire from 1921

Norwegian Post Horn ( stamp series)

Posthornsatz values ​​2-90 penny

Berlin stamp with a postilion of the imperial post

100 years Postal Museum

Postilion on a Karriol, about 1852

On the first machine brand of the German Federal Post Office ...

And ... the third ATM, now supported by the Deutsche Post AG

Austria: New Design January 26, 1973, " First Day ," about a great post horn with eagle, trapezoidal rounded

Germany: 1986 Stamps with Historic Post foreground subjects a stagecoach on the stamp a post-horn

In the music

Musical Instruments Closely related are the post-horn hunting horns as the Fürst- Pless - Horn and Hunting Horn. After the invention of valves, the cornet evolved from the post horn as a musical instrument.


  • Winter Travel # 13 " The Post" ( From the street, a post horn sounds ) D 911.13 E flat major
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1779: Serenade in D Major, " Posthorn" (KV 320)
  • Hugo Kaun - list of works, 0p. 25, Six Songs, b ) The Post Horn
  • Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 3 in D minor ( post horn solo in the Trio of the third movement )
  • Also in Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 31 is to hear a post-horn signal.


In biology, the post horn is named for several species:

  • Horn snail
  • The squid Posthörnchen is named after the post horn due to the very similar shape of their inner housing.
  • For other types see Posthörnchen (disambiguation).

As the " Posthorn" is described by many students also rated " Unsatisfactory", due to the similar form of post horn and "6".

Other uses

  • Vienna: The Ministry of Commerce has set up the "Posthorn in iron " for nailing on May 20, 1917 ( Wehrmann in iron).

Electorate of Saxony Postmeilensäule, see also: Postmeilensäule, Dresden - Teplitz Post Road Gallery and the Saxon Postmeilensäule columns

Signboards of a hotel " eagle ", with post horn (formerly a coaching inn ) in Schwetzingen

Sign on a post office in Sweden

Mountain road sign post in Switzerland ( beginning )