The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 8-cent Gatun Locks-Before commemorative (Scott 126) on August 15, 1939, as part of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Series. The series includes two groups of eight 'before' and eight 'after' scenes of important Canal Zone areas and facilities such as the largest set of locks at Gatun.
The scene selected for this stamp, a view captured on April 15, 1911, was shot from about sea level looking up towards the huge locks, then under construction. In the photo appear the culverts through which the water flows as well as the giant towers used to handle the cement and other materials. At upper left, overlooking the scene below, sits the building that housed many of the construction offices.
Patrons found few uses for the 8-cent stamp, which they usually coupled with other stamps on envelopes or parcels. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 210,000 of this stamp, and fewer than 20 percent sold. Sales ceased on February 28, 1941, and officials burned the remaining stock on April 12.