By email February 2005 from
I notice you are still on the
lookout for ex GCT stuff, including ticket machines. I do not have
any Ultimate machines for sale, but if you are ever offered one
as a guaranteed ex-Glasgow machine, beware. The reason for this
is that the machines were leased from the Bell Punch Company,
and were sent back for refurbishment from time to time. The machines
would then be sent to whoever required them, so a machine starting
off in Glasgow could end up in Liverpool or Leeds, or anywhere
else that used them. Similarly a " Glasgow" machine could
have started off in Birmingham, or wherever so its difficult
to say a machine was a "Glasgow" ticket
machine, as it will be impossible to trace its actual origin. It
is likely that some kind of records may have been kept by Bell
Punch, but I am reliably informed that these have been lost forever,
and in any case few if any 5 unit machines carry serial numbers.
One of my machines was definitely
used in Birmingham, as a conductor has used the leather patch on
the back to lean on when completing his/her waybill and the name "Harborne" is
indented onto the leather. I also have another unidentifiable
5 unit machine, and two ex - London Transport 6 unit machines (I
know these are ex LT, because of a trip counter modification specified
by London). I believe I have another 6 unit machine which someone
tried to convince me had spent its entire life in Wolverhampton.
The sad fact is that anyone who
knows how to insert the appropriate printing plate into most machine
makes can pass them off as being whatever they fancy. This
is not possible on some early Setright machines, which Alice would
have used with Western, and which will bear a manufacturer's
serial number. Believe it or not, a register of these numbers with
the operators supplied has been produced, so it is possible
to check what you are buying. The later machines were made in Belfast,
where they weren't given serial numbers, and it would be impossible
to state with any certainty whether the machine is what the seller
claims it to be. In any case, Setrights were never used by GCT,
so I don't suppose you'd be looking for any. It's just in case
Alice takes a notion for a memory of her Western days. (She did
and we have one, I must check the serial number against that register.)
I would reckon the two TIM machines
you have will be genuine ex- GCT, as the red ink, Corporation printing
plates, and machine boxes would tend to confirm. The easiest
machines to "doctor" are the Swedish made Almex ones
which I doubt you'll have ever used. Prior to the TIM
and Ultimate machine Glasgow used the original Bell Punch machines
which simply punched a hole in a pre-printed ticket which would
have either borne a stage number, or in the case of a "geographical" ticket,
the name of the stage. In that system each service would require
its own tickets. A little bell would ring each time the punch was
activated as a signal to the passenger that a genuine ticket was
being "rung" up. Although my interest in GCT does
not go back far enough, I think Glasgow used the geographical
system, at least on the trams. The Bell Punch machines did have
serial numbers, but I don't know where you would be able to find
any lists of what was supplied to who. So, again, be wary of sellers
claiming that these wee machines are ex-Glasgow, or ex- anywhere
for that matter.
By email July 2005 from
Whilst reading your website pages I checked out the comments made by John
Walker about Ultimate machines.
Have to correct him in that he
says 5 barrel machines did not carry serial numbers. That not true.
ALL Ultimate family machines have a 'Chassis' number and it was
this number that Bell Punch used to track and record the whereabouts
or each machine. These records comprised bound ledgers of various
sizes and each machine was tracked for all of its life. From these
records it is possible to know where all machines went and thus
say if a machine was a 'Glasgow' machine or not.
As for saying that the records
have been lost forever, this is also not true I'm afraid. I was
the one who rescued the records from Bell punch in 1988. They are
all safely tucked up in a museum, so their future is assured. At
the same time I was also given the last 200 ultimate machines that
were on the premises at Uxbridge and an 1892 Bell Punch Printing
press. (its huge!)
Using these records its possible
to track all of the variants of Ultimates/Solomatics/Ultimatics/
Roll solomatics/Automatickets etc. Ultimate came in the following
variants: 1 barrel, 2 barrel, 5 barrel, 6 barrel and 7 barrel.
There was also an experimental 4 barrel machine that was sent to
Hong Kong for evaluation. The seven barrel machines (of which I
have 2) were made from a six barrel and a five barrel fused together.
(you only have to look inside the casing of them to see the
join!) The London Transport machines have several modifications to the units
to show and normally have a U number stamped on the top.
If you can tell me your chassis
numbers then I can let you know the history of the machine, but
this is not something I can do overnight, it will take a few weeks
to actually get to the records to check. There are a few late repaired
machines that do not have this, they were repaired at the end of
record keeping and thus were not recorded.
Incidentally it was a Glasgow
Corporation order for about a quarter of a million tickets that
went up in flames at Bell punch that lead to GNP (Glasgow Numerical
printing) always getting the order for printing the bus tickets.
(That is something I know about as I also have the records of the
early board meetings too)
The Glasgow TIM machines, well
yes there were hundreds of these machines donated to an individual
in the 1980's, they are genuine, notice the saw marks across some
of the conditions to the left of the ticket, this was done on the
withdrawal of the trams as the conditions would only then apply
to the buses.
Tim machines were invented by
Frank Langdon and derived from a 'Neopost' letter franking machine.
They were created originally for a trial with the London General
Omnibus Company. I had great pleasure in tracking this gentleman
down and spending an afternoon listening to him.
As for Setrights, well yes there
are records kept to show where all of them went, not just a serial
number but normally a machine number is on the front too. Did you
know that the Setright Machine takes its name from Harry Setright?
I've had the pleasure of dining with his 2 sons who gave valuable
insights into their father.
above helps, as custodian of about 700 ticket machines and associated
items (lost count a few years ago) I'm always keen to see others
showing an interest.
By email March 2007 from Briain Longworth
I have been intending to contact you for some time, to say how
much I have enjoyed your site. Having worked for a long time in
the Head Office of GCT I knew a number of the people mentioned
in your contributors' reminiscences and hope to contribute to the
In the meantime I am attaching some comments on Bob Wingrove's
contribution which you may wish to add.
I was interested to read Bob Wingrove's comments about Ticket
Machines but would like to correct a few points about the TIMs.
Firstly, as the purchaser of the remaining TIMs, I can assure
him they were not donated to any individual.
GCT sold off quite a number of the machines
in the early 1950s to bus operators including Cunningham of Paisley
and Paton of Renfrew with
the Glasgow Corp Transport name being filed off. They were
also sold off to enthusiasts when requested. Shortly
after I started work in the Head Office, the TIMs were moved
to a different store which was when I found some of the earlier
models. I bought a couple of these and when some of my enthusiast
friends heard about them, bought others for them. After that I
bought regular small amounts on behalf of the Scottish Tramway
Museum Society as it then was, for resale in aid of funds,
and for the Tramway Museum Society, for use on the Glasgow trams
running at Crich and for resale in their bookshop. As the fare
range was too low for further use I was able to pursuade the powers
that be, not to file out the name as they were of more interest
to collectors intact. When a decision was made to close the
Head Office in 1982, as the regular purchaser of machines, I was
asked to make an offer for the remaining machines which I did and
was accepted. I sold these on to Crich and at various bus rallies
etc. As soon as I recovered my outlay, the proceeds have been devoted
to the preservation and future restoration of Glasgow Duntocher
single deck tramcar 1016, now in the GVVT museum in Bridgeton. The
machines originally had values up to 2 1/2d then 6d and 1/- which
were the unlimited evening and Sunday tickets issued up to the
outbreak of war in 1939. As the maximum fare increased, these values
were changed to 3d and 4d and at this time the reference
to these tickets were crossed out. TIMs were only used on the
trams until replaced by the Ultimates in the late 40s and early
50s. They were then used by new tram conductors in service as
part of their training and about half a dozen mostly of the earlier
type, which had originally had guillotines, were sent to each
of the four bus garages as emergency spares.
With the printing strike in 1959, they were
pressed into service in the five remaining tram depots apart
from Newlands which retained the Ultimates. They were also issued
to the trolleybus section
in Dennistoun and to Govan which only had trolleybuses at
that time and to Hampden. With a maximum capacity of 4d, tickets
had to be 'married' to get the higher values up to 10d. With
the ending of the strike, the last of the machines were withdrawn
early in September 1959. Apart from the emergency spares TIMs
were never used on the buses.
Bailey & Duncan's Patent
Machine number 871 stamped on all parts of the machine,
it has a clock mechanism with 32 segments. When used it
rings a bell.
By email 3 March 2007 from
The Punch shown was extensively
used only by conductors on the Corporation trams up
to about 1911 when they changed on to the Bell Punch. It
may have been used on the Company cars as the Duncan
of the Patentees was none other than John Duncan of
GTOC. I saw an almost identical one with different
names on E-bay about a year ago and it was made in
America for American tramways or railways. Others a
little bit different were used in Australia but I don't
know where they were made.
Like the later Bell Punches they
held the clippings so that they could be counted if
the conductor was suspected of fraud. The clock mechanism
with the 32 segments is actually a counter and like
the Bell Punch which had a counter inside the machine,
registers every time a ticket is punched in order to
check the conductor's honesty.
If you can help
I hope this is of interest,