Quincy and Kansas City RPO duplex handstamp
The Chambers shop produced this duplex handstamp in 1902 for the Quincy and Kansas City Railway Post Office. The Quincy and Kansas City RPO operated over the Quincy, Omaha, and Kansas City Railroad between 1901 and 1939—a route of 249 miles. Although each postmarker head was custom-cut, this object is representative of production during the early twentieth century.
With the center mortise punched and rim already turned by machine, the final markings were made by hand. The craftsman or 'cutter' worked at a bench with the die secured in a vise. He counted the number of characters in the name to be created and, starting with the middle character (in this case, the cutter chose the "C" in Quincy), gouged away metal to create intaglio lettering. Cutters worked from the center character backwards (e.g., towards the "Q") and then forward to the end of the name (in this case, the dot following "O"). The lettering at the bottom was cut last. Following this procedure insured the name would be centered within the round postmark, often called the 'dial'.
The imprint from this device was not included in the United States Transit Markings Catalog compiled by Charles L. Towle for the Mobile Post Office Society in 1979.