Meter: The mechanical or digital device that creates a valid denominated postage imprint known as a meter stamp. Postage is prepaid to the regulating postal authority and meter impressions are used today by volume mailers to cut the cost of franking mail and to help businesses prepare mailings in an efficient manner.
The first experiment was conducted in 1897 by Di Brazzi who placed three coin operated machines in New York post offices. The machines accepted coins and printed a meter stamp on an envelope. These vending machines were removed after a few months and only two examples of the meter stamps exist today.
Similar experiments were conducted in Norway in 1900 and 1903, in New Zealand in 1904 and in the US in 1912 and 1913. The first commercial postage meter installation was accomplished in New Zealand in about 1907 and New Zealand stands as the country that has continuously used postage meters for the longest time. Meters were authorized by the UPU in 1920, and it was a New Zealand machine, the Moss Model D, that was first used in Egypt, albeit for a brief period only, in 1922.