Maryland Line, MD, postmark handstamp
Postal clerks at Maryland Line, Maryland, used this circular town-date postmarker in the early 1870s. The handstamp has a solid steel die with a mortise in the center and a socket key.
This handstamp was produced by Benjamin Chambers, Jr. In 1865 Chambers worked as a subcontractor, making marking devices for Fairbanks & Co. of New York. Fairbanks held a contract with the Post Office Department. In 1867 Chambers won the contract as the Department's direct supplier. Successive four-year awards were handled by three-generations of the Chambers family until 1931.
This postmarker is a transitional piece from the period during which Chambers's products were similar to those produced by Edmund Hoole. Hoole was a subcontractor who also produced postmarkers for Fairbanks until late 1865. The notable differences between the markers from the two shops are the round, knurled set-screw and the mortise, which was enlarged to accept 'year' type.