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"You know these tiny travelers?" says Grandpa

"Billions of them! Born to travel. They have travelled to all continents, nations, and towns."

"But they always need help, a chaperone so to speak. And, it is almost always a one way ticket for them." Grandpa said.

"They love their countries and carry the name everywhere they go. A lot of people love them even when they are useless!"

"Is that all you are going to tell me?" I asked

"Well. If you insist, these devils started their travel mission in the 19th century England"

"And, sadly, most likely, the travelers will die in this century"

What was he talking about?

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  • $\begingroup$ "They love their countries and carry the name everywhere they go" - except for those "English" devils, of course. $\endgroup$ – Ken Y-N Dec 6 '19 at 1:25
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I think Grandpa's "tiny travelers" might be:

POSTAGE STAMPS

Since:

Postage stamps are small (just a few square centimetres in size) and travel all over the world on items of mail (their 'chaperones'). After being used once they don't end up being reused, but instead tend to be thrown away (a 'one-way trip'). Many are branded with ('carry') the name of their country of origin.

Historically:

The first postage stamp was the Penny Black, introduced in May 1840 in the UK. Many people fear as Grandpa does that their use may soon die out due to the ever-increasing use of electronic communications like email, and the common practice of franking commercial mail.

But fear not!

There will doubtless always be stamp collectors - people who love them even when they're useless (i.e. already used once).

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  • $\begingroup$ Hah! I was going to guess rot13(trezf), which also kinda matches. :) $\endgroup$ – Vilx- Dec 6 '19 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ Were these travellers in all continents including Antarctica? $\endgroup$ – Dmitry Kamenetsky Dec 7 '19 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @DmitryKamenetsky Well, there are manned weather stations and suchlike on Antarctica. Any international mail sent to or from them would presumably need one, regardless of whether the continent had any internal ones of its own printed :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Dec 7 '19 at 18:46
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I understand this is not what was mean here, but

fridge magnets

also fit the description perfectly.

Everybody loves them - even more than

letters

. They need chaperone - a

fridge

to exhibit them.

And they do usually carry the name of country, or city, on them.

The date will be harder to nail down, but

British scientist William Sturgeon invented the electromagnet in 1824

Not sure they are dying anytime soon, tho!

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The recent trend of manufacturing refrigerators out of aluminum instead of steel might have some impact on them... $\endgroup$ – Darrel Hoffman Dec 6 '19 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman What?! They're making fridges out of aluminum now? How cruel! $\endgroup$ – S.S. Anne Dec 6 '19 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ In the US we see refrigerators with stainless steel outer skins. The effect is the same. $\endgroup$ – Ross Millikan Dec 7 '19 at 4:23

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