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Which Post Office Department Or Function Uses Machine Cancels?

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Valued Member

Israel
38 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   05:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add gum side to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
In the course of research I'm doing (Palestine Mandate 1930s-40s - but this question is relevant anywhere), I'm trying to understand what the use of a machine cancel means about the manner in which a postal item was processed: for example were machine cancels used at public counters or for bulk mail cancellation like from letter boxes or transit marking?

Thanks in advance
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Edited by gum side - 09/06/2021 05:22 am

Pillar Of The Community
1124 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   05:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Trials with machines to cancel mail, already, started in 1862. The need for machines to cancel mail arose as the volume of mail increased and cancellation by hand was not always efficient. If anything can be inferred from it, it may be the item was not handed to a clerk. But nowadays even buying a stamp at a post office counter and have the clerk apply it may result in a machine cancellation being applied.
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
62 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   06:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Have you seen the Middle East Philatelic bulletin, an free online resource on Palestine and many Middle East stamp related articles?

The author Tobias is interested in this area, and will help you find info from amongst his extensive documentation on Palestine and Middle East Philately.

The link to the latest bulletin is

https://www.zobbel.de/mepb/MEP-Bulletin_018.pdf
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Edited by Triangle - 09/06/2021 06:46 am
Valued Member
Israel
38 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   07:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gum side to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks NSK and Triangle! It seems intuitive but never spelled out…
Tobias knows me; I read the MEPB…
This is my free research resource (new version due in 1-2 weeks):
https://jerusalemstamps.com/Handboo..._History.pdf
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Edited by gum side - 09/06/2021 07:20 am
Valued Member
Israel
38 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   07:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gum side to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
…the thing that confused me is that Mandate sorting offices had their own ("single circle") cancellers but plenty of mail is seen with machine cancels, implying these are mutually exclusively used by different departments…
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
62 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   08:12 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for putting Alex forward in the above link.
He also publishes a lot of info.
There is a lot of older journals such as BAPIP,Israel-Judaica journal etc, some out of print that may have covered this or similar topics, but it takes a lot of searching to find out!
SIP also have an online bookshop with a few Palestine topics covered as well as many other publications.
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Edited by Triangle - 09/06/2021 08:13 am
Valued Member
Israel
38 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   08:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gum side to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
aha BAPIP! How do I get copies of their articles? I've tried for the longest time to contact whoever manages their legacy…
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
62 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   09:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have some, but not complete. If you can find references from other to BAPIC articles I can check.
Tobias may have most of them.
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Pillar Of The Community
3949 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   09:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
gum side,
You may be trying to attach too much significance to hand cancels versus machine cancels.
It is a matter of canceling the stamps in any post office by either means to protect the postal revenue and date the mail piece. They both do exactly the same purpose. Machines will typically be faster and provide a better cancel impression than hand stamps. They will typically be in the work area behind the counter to process quantities of mail coming from carriers, boxes, stacks from walk-in customers, etc. A single letter handed to a window clerk might receive a hand stamp at the counter or set back for machine (or hand) canceling later with other collected mail. The public would never have access to the machines - or seldom even see them from a distance in most offices. Machines will typically be only in offices with larger mail volume.
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Valued Member
Israel
38 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   10:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gum side to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks John! That's exactly what I was trying to pin down. In the area I'm researching this is a critical distinction- was machine cancelled mail "handed in" (individually) at the public counter or was it mail that was processed behind the scenes.

From your reply can we draw any inferences about whether machine cancelled mail was from bagged mail or just loose mail?

Further to that question is it safe to say that machine cancels were used in the sorting office?
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Edited by gum side - 09/06/2021 10:42 am
Pillar Of The Community
3949 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   11:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You may still be over-thinking this. I would not draw any conclusion from a machine cancel versus a hand cancel about how any given letter entered the mail stream. As an example. I hand a single letter to a window clerk when business is lite and he cancels it immediately by hand. On another visit, I hand a stack of 50 letters to the same window clerk who sends them back behind the counter and they are sent through a machine. It all depends. Think like an employee - how do I get the job done?

Also examining a mail piece now - there is rarely any way to determine whether the letter was taken to a window clerk, picked up by a carrier, dropped in a curbside collection box, etc. A letter mailed by any of these means could receive a hand stamp or a machine cancel when it gets to the back room of the nearest post office. Many of the smaller offices won't even have canceling machines.

"sorting office" Umm. Any post office will have a work area behind the counter for doing all of the general processing functions of any post office. Canceling, sorting, incoming, outgoing, carriers, registry, etc. Smaller offices will have this all in one room - a table or small area for each task. Larger offices logically devote more space to each of these tasks and more obviously divide between mail incoming to the mail stream and mail nearing the end of its delivery journey.
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Valued Member
Israel
38 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   11:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gum side to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The reason I specified a department like the sorting office is that in the Mandate era there were "head post offices" in the 4 major cities and only at these HPOs was there a "sorting office" with its own cancelling devices & public counters with theirs (plus all sorts of supporting departments like telegraphs, money orders etc). Machine cancels were also only used at the HPOs. That's why, if as you described, the machine cancel was out of sight might this have been a device used specifically by the sorting office.
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Pillar Of The Community
3949 Posts
Posted 09/06/2021   12:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have zero knowledge specific to Palestine postal operations.
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
62 Posts
Posted 09/09/2021   3:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was also thinking a bit more about this. Have you looked at:
LOEBL W.Y. Postal Mechanisation in the Holy Land 1925-1981.
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
62 Posts
Posted 09/09/2021   3:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another great source of information may be the Alexander collection:

GIRAY Kemal and ERTUGHRUL Jeff The Ottoman Field Post Offices - Palestine (1914-1918). The Alexander Collection.

This can be seen in Israel and has a web site
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
62 Posts
Posted 09/09/2021   3:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Triangle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Alexander Collection. Milestones in the Postal History of the Holy Land.

Another useful reference to the Alexander collection

This can be seen in Israel and has a web site
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Edited by Triangle - 09/09/2021 3:19 pm
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