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The Beckson ticket machine

Beckson ticket machine


The Beckson portable ticket machine
Video
Ticket details
History
Articles and Advertisements
Patents
Links


The Beckson portable ticket machine

This is a small ticket machine. It was used in Dutch buses and trams from about 1952 till 1980. It could be attached to a stand for use at a ticket kiosk, or could be hung on a shoulder strap for use by a bus or tram conductor. The ticket details are set using the input pins at the front of the machine, and then the crank on the side has to be turned twice to print a ticket which exits the top of the machine.

The machine serial number is shown on the top of the machine (542) and this is printed very small and sideways on every ticket. A small window on top of the machine shows a 4-digit counter that is incremented with every ticket issued, but this is not printed. On the bottom of the machine is a large window with an 8-digit register that totals the value of all tickets.

Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine


On the left side of the machine is a keyhole. If the key is removed, then the machine is in a locked state so no tickets can be issued. With the key inserted it can be rotated to two other states. When rotated to align with the white dot, the machine is normal operational mode. When rotated further to align with the second red dot then the machine can be opened. The opposite side hinges open, giving access to the ticket roll.

The ticket roll is preprinted with blan tickets on the front and serial ticet numbers on the back. The serial number of the next ticket to be issued is visible through a small window and serves as a check to see that the paper strip is aligned correctly for printing. Printing is done through the use of a roll of carbon paper. The used carbon paper is rolled up inside the machine. It is possible to use a slightly different setup where this second roll contains two layers - a two-sided carbon paper layer that gets ejected with the ticket, and a paper layer that acts as a copy of all the printed tickets and gets rolled up inside the machine. The latter can then be processed later at the central office.

Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine


The Beckson machine is fairly easy to disassemble by removing the visible screws, but it shold be noted that some of the internal screws are protected with lead seals. This protects the main register from being tampered with undetected.

The small counter is marked E.N.M., which stands for English Numbering Machines. This was a company based in Enfield, England, that made many kinds of counters for display or printing.

Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine
Beckson ticket machine



Video




Ticket details

The print on a ticket consists of a single line. It essentially consists of all the data entered using the levers on the front of the machine:


History

Christopher Becker (1805-1888), was the son of a well-known German mechanic. In 1829 he moved to Groningen, where he started making measuring instruments and also worked as assistent to university professor Sibrandus Stratingh. In that role he constructed a steampowered car, and the world's first electromagnetically powered (model) car. After Stratingh died Becker focussed on making instruments, and in 1842 he moved to Arnhem to open a new factory there. This company became Becker en Buddingh, and they made precision balances, weights, etc. It seems he had some conflicts with the authorities, and in 1855 he transferred the company to his business partner, and with his family he fled the country to evade the tax office. The business continued trading under the name Becker en Buddingh after Becker left.

Becker set up a new life in Brooklyn, New York, and a new company making balances and other instruments. This company was called Becker & Sons, which he ran with his two eldest sons, Ernst and Christian. In 1884 the sons left their father's business to set up their own instrument maker's company in New York, Becker Brothers. Christopher died in 1888, and Becker & Sons closed. When Ernst died by drowning in 1892, Becker Brothers became simply Christian Becker, and then Christian Becker Inc. Christian's son, Christopher A. Becker also joined the company and invented the chainomatic balance. When Christian died in 1915, Christopher continued running the compmany without changing its name.

Ernst and Christian had two younger brothers, Henry Louis and Julian Johan. They they went back to the Netherlands and in 1872 set up their own company in Rotterdam, Becker's Sons, which also made weights and balances. In 1895 Henry Louis Becker left Becker's Sons in Rotterdam and went to Brussels where he set up his own instrument making company, H. L. Becker Fils & Co. Julian Johan continued to run Becker's Sons, with his own two sons eventually joining the company.

The busy city of Rotterdam was too noisy and had too many vibrations to make and calibrate precision instruments, so in 1914 Becker's Sons moved to a small Dutch village called Brummen. It did not remain a family company, as it was bought by the N.V. Hollandsche Optiekfabriek in 1926. Presumably the Beckers left around then. One of the sons, Juliën Henry Becker started making balances and weights in Delft.

The company continued to trade using the name Becker's Sons. Under the new management they diversified. They made water and gas valves for example, and by lobbying in the Hague they managed in the 1930s to secure a contract with the ministry of defense to make parts for grenades.

In the second world war the factory was looted by the German occupiers, but after the war the machinery was eventually recovered and Becker's Sons returned to producing balance scales, weights, as well as water and gas valves. To stimulate the post-war economic recovery, the government found that many more bicycles were needed, and that a manufacturing bottleneck was the hub of bikes with pedal brakes. These had previously mostly been imported from Germany. Becker's Sons relationship with the Defense department led to them getting the task of developing and then producing hundreds of thousands of these brake hubs. They were put on the market in 1950 under the new brand name Beckson.

A portable ticket machine was developed in 1948, with the cooperation of a local bus/tram company. From about 1952 the Beckson machine began to be used much more widely and was produced in larger numbers, and it remained in production for almost 30 years.

The company slowly declined however. The brake hubs suffered due to the company's need to rapidly expand its production, and quality control problems. The increasing cheap foreign competition then led to cost cutting, and a reduced marketing spend accelerated the decline. In 1967 Becker's Sons was bought by Simmonds Precision, an American company that already had branches in other Dutch cities. Production of precision balances ended in 1971. They invested in the development of an electronic portable ticket machine, but in 1980 that all became obsolete overnight when a national public transport travel card scheme was introduced. The remains of Becker's Sons was split up at the end of 1981 - the electronics department was absorbed in the rest of Simmonds, and the metalworks was sold off to become a new independent company. The latter received funds from the local council in order to keep the jobs, but the company collapsed within a year. The funds had disappeared and the people involved in its management were raided by the police under suspicions of fraud and tax evasion.


Articles and Advertisements

Here are a few articles and ads related to Christopher Becker and his companies (1843-1873).

1834-03-28 Utrechtsche courant
1834-07-15 Leeuwarder courant
1835-02-20 Leeuwarder courant
1836-08-22 Utrechtsche courant
1837-06-20 Nederlandsche staatscourant
1837-12-23 Algemeen Handelsblad
1843-02-23 Algemeen Handelsblad
1848-09-04 Algemeen Handelsblad
1855-01-20 Algemeen Handelsblad
1855-07-07 Algemeen Handelsblad
1855-08-14 Algemeen Handelsblad
1855-10-10 Algemeen Handelsblad
1857-11-07 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York)
1865-04-27 The Daily British Colonist (Victoria Canada)
1871-01-01 Verslag aan den Koning van de bevindingen en handelingen van het Geneeskundig Staatstoezigt
1873-09-13 Utah Mining Gazette (Salt Lake City Utah)


Here are articles and ads related to Ernst and Christian Becker and their companies (1888-1935).

1888-06-30 The Engineering and Mining Journal
1890-02-09 The New York Times
1892 The American Journal of Science
1894 The Mineral industry
1894-12-29 The Engineering and Mining Journal
1898-12-31 The Engineering and Mining Journal
1899 Biographical history of Westchester County, New York 1
1899 Biographical history of Westchester County, New York 2
1899 Biographical history of Westchester County, New York 3
1900 Elements of mineralogy, crystallography and blowpipe analysis
1902 Notes on Assaying
1915-08-03 The New York Times
1915-11-01 The India Rubber World
1916-02-15 Chemical engineering
1916-05-01 The India Rubber World
1918 The American Florist Company's directory
1922-09 Canadian chemical processing
1922-10 Canadian chemical processing
1935-06-06 The Collecting Net


The next articles and ads are related to Becker's Sons in Rotterdam (1874-1912), as well as H.L. Becker.

1874-11-01 Pharmaceutisch weekblad
1877-03-01 Het vaderland
1877-04-12 Het vaderland
1878-02-14 Het vaderland
1878-04-04 Rotterdamsch nieuwsblad
1879-10-19 Rotterdamsche courant
1888-10-27 De opmerker
1905-05-28 Land en volk
1912-08-09 Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant


Finally articles and ads related to Becker's Sons in Brummen (1913-1967), their Beckson bicycle hub, and the Beckson ticket machine and its use in public transport.

1913-12-03 Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant
1914-05-23 Zutphensche courant
1915-02-12 Twentsch dagblad Tubantia
1918-09-05 Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant
1926-06-19 Zutphensche courant
1928 Pharmaceutisch adresboek voor Nederland en kolonien
1948-10-26 Zutphensch dagblad voor Achterhoek en Veluwezoom
1948-11-16 Zutphensch dagblad voor Achterhoek en Veluwezoom
1949-02-10 Zutphensch dagblad voor Achterhoek en Veluwezoom
1949-06-09 De waarheid
1950-04-01 Deventer dagblad
1950-04-14 Arnhemsche courant
1950-04-15 De metaalbewerker
1950-04-15 Zutphensch dagblad voor Achterhoek en Veluwezoom
1952-06-20 Provinciale Overijsselsche en Zwolsche courant
1953-09-23 Het vaderland
1953-09-23 Nieuw Utrechtsch dagblad
1953-09-23 Nieuwe Haarlemsche courant
1953-09-24 Trouw
1954-11-23 Algemeen Handelsblad
1955-08-20 De katholieke illustratie
1958-09-25 Limburgsch Dagblad
1959-04-01 De Nederlandse industrie
1959-06-20 Algemeen Dagblad
1960-09-17 Deventer dagblad
1962-0-15 De mijnlamp
1964 The development of modern chemistry
1965-08-31 De nieuwe Limburger
1966-04-22 Algemeen Dagblad
1967-10-20 Gereformeerd gezinsblad
1986-02-03 Nieuwsblad van het Noorden
1980-01-24 De Volkskrant
1982-12-21 NRC Handelsblad



Patents

Unfortunately I have not been able to find any patents for the Beckson ticket machine. There are however many patents for the bicycle hub (GB 659,463 / NL 70,197 / US 2,569,718 and GB 661,938 / NL 81,075 / US 2,565,819 and GB 786,698 / NL 84,951 / US 2,800,986 and many others).


Links


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