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Thomas Edmondson collection

[Thomas Edmondson]

Thomas Edmondson was born in Lancaster on 30 June 1792,  served his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and worked for the firm of Waring and Gillow of Lancaster.

In 1836, he became station master at Milton (now Brampton) station on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway. Milton was not a busy station, and Edmondson had plenty of time to apply his craftsman's training to the improvement of ticket issue.

He first devised the idea of small piece of cardboard, printed with printer's type set into a small wooden block. These he numbered by hand and placed them in a vertical tube for each destination, with a counterweight device to push up the next ticket when one was issued.

He also invented a foot-operated date-stamping press; early versions of this were dreaded by ticket staff as it could also crush the fingers.

The invention which made Edmondson's fortune was his final development: a machine which would print tickets in batches complete with the serial numbers. He patented this machine, and was able to charge a royalty to railway companies on the basis of ten shillings per mile of the company's routes,  so that a line 100 miles long had to pay him £50 per year. 

The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway had shown little interest in these inventions, so Edmondson transferred his allegiance to the Manchester and Leeds when it opened in 1839 and became the chief booking clerk at Manchester.

List of the items in the John Rylands Library Edmondson Collection

  1. 22 June 1831, Birth Certificate of John Edmondson.
  2. Memorandum. "Mr Thomas Edmondson's Patent." [sic]
  3. 1 October 1839. Receipt for £20 patent money.
  4. 7 October 1839. Receipt for £80 patent money.
  5. 24 October 1839. Receipt for £50 patent money.
  6. 26 October 1839. Receipt for £45 patent money.
  7. 6 May 1840. Receipt for £65 patent money.
  8. 9 June 1840. Patent for "Certain Improvements in Printing Presses" London.
  9. 8 December 1840. Receipt for £50 patent money.
  10. 10 January 1841. Receipt for £20 patent money.
  11. 27 March 1841. Receipt for £50 patent money.
  12. 29 September 1841. Account from Newton & Berry, London, detailing expenses of obtaining Patent in England.
  13. 29 September 1841. Account from Newton & Berry, London, detailing expenses of obtaining Patent in Scotland.
  14. 29 September 1841. Account current for 1839 from Newton & Berry.
  15. 29 September 1841. Account current for 1840 from Newton & Berry.
  16. 29 September 1841. Account from Newton & Berry, London, detailing expenses of obtaining Patent in Belgium.
  17. 29 September 1841. Account from Newton & Berry, London, detailing expenses of obtaining Patent in France.
  18. 7 June 1842. Receipt for £96 patent money.
  19. 24 September 1842. Receipt for £45patent money.
  20. 6 July 1843. Receipt for £10 6s patent money.
  21. 2 May 1844. Receipt for £60 patent money.
  22. 27 June 1844. Patent for "Certain Improvements in Printing Presses" Dublin. 1 leaf.
  23. 19 August 1844. Receipt for £40 patent money.
  24. 7 October 1844. Receipt for £35 patent money.
  25. 1 December 1844. . Account from Newton & Son detailing expenses of obtaining Patent in Ireland.
  26. 19 March 1850. Patent for "Improvements in the Manufacture of Railway & other Tickets, etc." London. 1 leaf.
  27. 19 March 1850. Patent 10947 for "Improved Machine for Printing Railway and other Tickets." Washington. 5 leaves.
  28. 16 May 1854. Patent 10941 for "Improved Case for Holding Railway and other Tickets." Washington. 3 leaves.
  29. c. 1854. Blank form, United states Patent Office. 1 leaf. 2 copies.
  30. 30 October 1865. Receipt for £52 2s patent money.
  31. 16 October 1869. Notice of Patent fees due from H.B. Barlow's Office for Patents.
  32. 6 November 1869. Receipt for £102 2s. patent money.
  33. c.1878. Autograph manuscript of article entitled "To whom are we indebted for the Railway Ticket System?" by John B. Edmondson. 17 leaves.
  34. 2 August 1878. Article entitled To whom are we indebted for the Railway Ticket System?" by John B. Edmondson. Reprinted from the "English Mechanic and World of Science" of August 2 1878.
  35. c. 1878. Article entitled: To whom are we indebted for the Railway Ticket?" Pages 3-6 of John B. Edmondson's Railway Ticket & Apparatus Catalogue. 2 leaves.
  36. 15 December 1928. Article from Manchester City news of December 15 1928, entitled "Thomas Edmondson." 1 leaf.
  37. 16 April 1929. Letter to T.J. Edmondson from J.Shaw. Autograph. 1 leaf. With 2 articles by J. Shaw entitled "Lancaster" & "Lancaster canal and its connection with railways" attached. 4 leaves.
  38. Letter to T.J. Edmondson from G.M. Bland, Borough Librarian, Lancaster. 1 leaf. Typescript with autograph note.
  39. Invitation to attend the unveiling of a memorial tablet to Thomas Edmondson on 7 August 1930. 1 leaf. Print.
  40. 8 August 1930. Article entitled "Invented Railway Ticket Machine." Reprinted from Lancaster Guardian.
  41. 10 September 1930. Circular letter sent out to 46 subscribers by J. Shaw. 1 leaf. Print with autograph note.
  42. Autograph letter to T.J. Edmondson from J. Shaw. 1 leaf.
  43. Commemorative album. The "Old Lancastrians" Association of Retired Railway Officials. 6th annual re-union. 6 leaves. Print.
  44. 26 September 1930. Autograph letter to T.J. Edmondson from J. Shaw. 1 leaf.
  45. 13 January 1932. Letter to T.J. Edmondson from O.J. Morris. 1 leaf. Typescript, signed, with autograph note by T.J. Edmondson.
  46. 23 January 1932. Letter to T.J. Edmondson from O.J. Morris. 1 leaf. Typescript, signed, with autograph note by T.J. Edmondson.
  47. September 1933. The "Southern Railway Magazine." Vol. 11, No. 129.
  48. July 1935. Manuscript note entitled: "Copied from EDMONSON'S Complete Book of Heraldry. Vol.2 (929-6) E.D. 57." 1 leaf.
  49. C. 28 August 1841. Newspaper cutting entitled "Death of Mr T.J. Edmondson" from the Manchester Guardian.
  50. 8 September 1941. Letter to George Edmondson from G.M. Bland, City Librarian, Lancaster. 1 leaf. Typescript, signed, with draft of reply in Edmondson's hand.
  51. August 1947. Article entitled "Round the World with Thomas Edmondson" signed by H. Hudson, cut from Chambers Journal. 2 leaves. Print.
  52. Photograph of Thomas Edmondson. [reproduced above.](A.V.G. Taylor, Market Street, Manchester on reverse.)
  53. Photograph (of the four Edmondson brothers?) (James Yoxall, Lord Street, Southport on reverse)
  54. Photograph of a woman. No identification.
  55. Seal with initials G.E. in gothic capitals.
  56. Strips detailing passengers in and out of Milton. (a) undated - Carlisle 9 o'clock. (b) March 12 - Blaydon 10.15 o'clock. (c) March 12. Haltwhistle 12 o'clock.
  57. Handwritten tickets, Milton to Low Row. No. 1 6d. No. 2 6d.
  58. Printed tickets from Milton, numbered by hand.
    ToNo.PriceDateNotes and images
    Carlisle 281 1/6 Feb. 20  
    Carlisle 677 1/- Feb. 22  
    Carlisle 679 1/- Feb. 22 Rail ticket, number 679, Milton to Carlisle
    Carlisle 691 1/- Mar. 2 Rail ticket, number 691, Milton to Carlisle
    Carlisle 721 1/- Mar. 3  
    Carlisle 734 1/- Mar. 4  
    Carlisle 740 1/- Mar. 6  
    Carlisle 764 1/-    
    Greenhead. 440 1/- Feb. 20  
    Wetheral 12 1/- Feb. 25  
    Wetheral 141 1/-    

    Note: Ticket no. 681, Milton-Carlisle 1s. February 22, was exchanged in 1977 with Mr David Gerrard of Leeds for original Edmondson Documents.
  59. Printed tickets from Mills Hill station, Manchester & Leeds Railway:
    ToNo.ClassPriceNotes and images
    Brighouse 984 2nd 5/-  
    Cooper Bridge 621 2nd 5/6  
    Eastwood 09 1st 3/6  
    Eastwood 406 2nd 3/-  
    Elland 308 1st 6/6  
    Elland 439 1st 6/6 First class rail ticket, number 439, Mills Hill to Elland
    Elland 134 2nd 4/6  
    Hebden Bridge 493 2nd 3/-  
    Heywood B. 72 1st 1/6  
    Horbury 78 1st 9/6  
    Horbury 239 1st 9/6  
    Horbury 471 1st 9/6  
    Horbury 117 2nd 6/6  
    Littleboro 239 1st 2/- First class rail ticket, number 239, Mills Hill to Littleboro
    Littleboro 349 1st 2/-  
    Luddenden 19 1st 4/6 Hand altered
    Luddenden 373 1st 5/6 First class rail ticket, number 373, Mills Hill to Luddenden
    Luddenden 219 2nd 3/6  
    Todmorden 242 1st 3/6 First class rail ticket, number 242, Mills Hill to Todmorden
    Wakefield 141 1st 10/6  

    Note: Three duplicate tickets from this item were exchanged in 1977 with Mr David Gerrard of Leeds for original Edmondson Documents.
  60. Selection of tickets
    JourneyNo.ClassPriceNotes and images
    Carlisle to Maryport 4050 1st 6/-  
    Carlisle to Maryport 2932 3rd 4/-  
    Manchester to Leeds 669 1st 15/-  
    Middleton to Elland 500 Gov. -  
    Reigate to London 500 1st 4/8  

  61. Sample sheet with the following five tickets glued on:-
    Milton - Rosehill no. 1 1/6 handwritten
    Milton - Carlisle 703 1/- printed, number handwritten
    Mills Hill - Brighouse 319 7/6 1st class, printed
    Mills Hill - Wakefield 440 10/6 1st class, printed
    Maryport - Carlisle 17 6/- 1st class, printed
    (These are the tickets printed in facsimile on p.7 of John B. Edmondson's catalogue, no. 35)
cuts made by nippers
Specimen sheet of various cuts made by nippers

Further Reading

Farr, Michael. - Thomas Edmondson : transport ticket pioneer :  1792-1851. - Weston-super-Mare : Avon-Anglia, 1982. - 0905466551

Farr, Michael. - 150 years of the Edmondson ticket / By M. Farr, D. Geldard and J. Tilly. - Weybridge : Ian Allan, 1988. - m3917940

 

Text by Charlie Hulme. List copied from existing typed handlist

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