THE TICKET DATING PRESS
At the heart of the booking office is the ticket dating press. This is used to print or impress the date on the ticket so validating it for use.
These machines were developed by the Edmondson Company in the 19th century and Waterlow also produced similar machines. Even the smallest station had one and larger stations often had dozens.
The most common variety in the UK printed the date on the ticket by using printers' type and an inked ribbon. Another variety impressed the date of the ticket with special sharp type. This was specially useful in hot climates where the ink dried out very quickly and also had the advantage of avoiding the use of the ribbon and the need to re-wind and re-ink it. The Isle of Man Railway used such machines until about 1970 and some examples of tickets impressed in this way can be seen on another page.
There was even a version which both impressed and printed with ink - this was supposed to give extra security but came at an enhanced price.
Right - machine ready for use.
Below - machine ready for changing type and other maintenance.
The machines are normally trouble free in operation if the moving parts are kept clean and lightly lubricated.
The ribbon (1) is automatically wound forward each time a ticket is dated by the ratchet and wheel (2) and needs to be re-wound from time to time by using the thumb wheel at (1). It also needs to be kept inked using a small amount applied to the length and width of the ribbon to keep it in good condition. New ribbons are available if required and, once threaded on to the machine should be fixed with adhesive tape at each end.
The type is changed to show the appropriate date, usually in the format DD MM YY. The ratchet (2) is lifted out of the way: the holding plate (3) is removed and kept safe and the type adjusted as required. Take care to place the individual type slugs with the slot downwards and do not force the holding plate back into position. The type used is not generally available but we normally have supplies in stock and can supply details and prices on request. Satisfactory results cannot be obtained using worn or damaged type so a new set is often a good investment. The type should also be kept clean by brushing with an old toothbrush and a small amount of solvent such as meths or white spirit.