Americus F. Callahan

On June 10, 1902, in Chicago, window envelopes were first patented by the wonderfully named Americus F. Callahan. His patent described the windows as “holes” for looking at the paper inside, and he noted that they could save both time and labor. Callahan also hinted that window envelopes could be more colorful than ordinary envelopes. For example, he said, “black paper [presents] an advantage over papers of other colors in that a striking contrast may be provided between the address appearing through the envelop[e] and the balance of the envelop[e].” Today, windows are still used heavily in direct mail­—and many aren’t that much different

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