Notes from the Past

Meter Postage
A Brief History - Part II

Experiments with coin-operated franking devices were conducted in Australia between 1903 and 1908.  These tests, conducted at the General Post Offices at Brisbane, Hobart, and Melbourne, were of machines submitted by individual inventors until 1908, when officials conducted a test of a device invented by Ernest Moss and submitted by the Automatic Stamping Co. of Christchurch, New Zealand.

In New Zealand, a patent for a coin-operated franking device was obtained by Moss in 1904.  His machines were placed in operation on a trial basis in the Christchurch Post Office for two weeks during June of that year and at Wellington for three weeks during the same period.

A trial of coin-operated franking devices for use by the general public came in Great Britain in 1912.  On January 25 of that year, a device invented by f. Wilkinson and made by Automatic Stamp Sealing machines Ltd. was installed at the General Post Office in London.  It was removed on August 31 of the same year.

In the late 1800s, a young Chicago inventor, Arthur Hill Pitney, was working independently on the idea of a franking device.  His first patent was obtained in 1902.  There followed a period of struggle to obtain Post Office Department approval of the Pitney device, during which improvements continued to be made as evidenced by a number of patents granted to Pitney and/or his co-workers.

The Pitney Postal Machine Co. was established in 1902 and became the American Postage Meter Co. in 1910.

To be Continued


- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Two G-P
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted October 15, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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