Table of Contents

The 1900's


Edward Cheshire tested a few machines around the turn of the century in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.


His patents were assigned to the White Sewing Machine Company, but his machines were never accepted by the post office.


Willard Doremus created a very simple hand powered machine that was sold to the post office by the hundreds in the early 1900s. Eventually, almost 800 towns and cities across the US used these machines. However, quality and speed issues led to their demise within a short time. By the 1920s, only a few machines remained in use.



The Pneumatic Cancelling Machine Company of Indianapolis started testing its machine in 1898, and was able to secure a small contract with the post office.


Between 1898 and 1904, about 30 cities across the US used Pneumatic machines. However, other faster and more reliable machines soon replaced the Pneumatic machines that were in place.


The Columbia Postal Supply Company burst onto the cancelling machine scene in 1900 and would remain a major player in that market for decades.


They made available several models and created perhaps the most diverse variety of postmarks of any cancelling machine company.


Despite widespread adoption of their machines elsewhere around the world, inventor Gustav Hansen (financially backed by Nils Krag) was never able to crack the US market with his inexpensive machine.


In general, repeater type machine cancels were used very sparingly in the US.


Machines from the Time Marking Machine Company impressed postal officials enough to be selected for contract use in many cities.


They were one of the first adopted machines that could show the exact time in the dial, a feature that very few other machines would match.


The speed and reliability of the International ‘Flier’ machines quickly made them a mainstay at the highest volume post offices across the country.


Smaller hand driven models also became widely used in small and medium size towns. International remained a dominant player in the industry for decades.


The installed base of flag cancel machines continued to grow in the early 1900s. By 1905, hand driven models were finding their way into smaller offices. By 1910, approximately 1000 flag machines were in use across the country.


Frederick Langford’s ‘Flag Cancel Encyclopedia’ is a must have reference for collectors of these popular markings.


Samuel Evans was a lesser known inventor of cancelling machines. Nonetheless, he held several patents, and his machines were tested intermittently in Roanoke, VA, his hometown, and Washington, DC, between 1905 and 1909.


The double die machine was never adopted by the post office.