Arago: Money Orders

Money Orders

Validator for money orders


Validator machines were introduced in the 1870s. B. B. Hill received a patent for this machine's characteristics in 1876. The validator consists of two principal components: 1) the body used by the postal employee to emboss a money order validation imprint upon documents; and 2) a brass die seated over brass month, date, and year wheels. The brass die has the city and state of the post office plus the letters "M O B" (Money Order Business). An opening in the center of the brass die allows a selected month, date, and year to be imprinted. The item to be validated was laid face-up upon the small, circular, rubber cushion under the imprinting area. When the top striker cap was hit with a fist, an imprint was made by the plunging die and date wheels behind an inked ribbon.

This style of validator, as well as other variations, was also used by railroad, airline, motor-coach, and steamship lines for validating tickets and receipts. Post Office Department usage is distinguished by the die bearing the "M O B" characters at the bottom of the dial, as is the case with this specimen from Port Townsend, Washington.

The brass year wheel could be removed and replaced with a new one for a decade's use; the earliest year on this wheel is 1891. The gilt ornamentation highlights on the black enamel paint are typical of the era.

c. 1871-1901
* * * * THE AMERICAN * * * * DATER / B. B. HILL'S PATENT NOV. 28 1871 / JUL. 1876 [cap]; PORT TOWNSEND WASH. M.O.B. / Nov. / 24 /1891 [die]
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