This is one of several pages relating to the history of the automatic totalisator, its invention in 1913, the inventor George Julius and the Australian company he founded in 1917 which became a monopoly ( later an oligopoly ) in this field. This page relates the history of the company mentioned above, Automatic Totalisators. This is a history only non commercial page. If you wish to start from the beginning then go to the index .
|Automatic Totalisators Limited - later ATL|
Automatic Totalisators Ltd., a public Company was formed in 1917 to manufacture, install and operate Totalizators throughout the world. By 1970 with few exceptions, every major racing centre in the world used these Australian Totalizators, which were in service in 29 countries. The Automatic Totalizator was invented by the late Mr. George Julius (later Sir George). In 1913 he installed his first totalizator on Ellerslie Racecourse in N.Z. and the second at Gloucester Park in Western Australia in 1916. The installation at Ellerslie was the first automatic totalizator in the world and although it looked like a giant tangle of piano wires, pulleys and cast iron boxes and many racing officials predicted that it would not work, it was a great success.
These early automatic totalizators were completely mechanical and consisted of Ticket Issuing Machines coupled to Drum Indicator Adder Units, all housed in the one building for one pool only. Miles of flexible wire cables connected the Ticket Issuing Machines to the Indicator/Adder Units. A considerable length of bicycle chain ran over sprockets and heavy cast iron weights were used for drive power.
In 1917, after the Company was formed further research led to the introduction of electrical power and the miles of flexible wire cable were replaced by simple electrical conductors which operated solenoids both in the Ticket Issuing Machine and the Indicator/Adders. This was a major development because now the Ticket Issuing Machines no longer had to be close to the Indicators.
By 1920 equipment was installed on a total of seven racetracks in Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle in Australia, and Auckland in New Zealand. The equipment was very bulky , employing the principle of one Ticket Issuing Machine to one Escapement Wheel, which limited the number of Ticket Issuing Machines to the number of Escapement Wheels it was possible to build into the combined Adder Drum Indicator Unit. Invariably these installations were confined to one building and no attempt was made to connect buildings by underground cable. The Indicators provided for one Pool only, but the fields were large. For example, at Randwick, the equipment provided for 42 starters. At this stage all the equipment was manufactured at Mr. Julius' home in Darling Point, Sydney, or in a backyard garage nearby.
Until the early 1920s the equipment was made for one Pool only and when you went on a racetrack you bet on the "Tote". The net Pool was divided up into three parts giving the winner 60 % and each of the 2nd and 3rd horses 20 %. At this stage there was a separate tote in each enclosure, not connected in any way with each other, so that, where three enclosures existed, as at Randwick, three different sets of dividends were declared.
In 1922 the old single "Tote" was superseded when Win & Place pools were created and the same year the first Totalizator equipment for Win & Place betting was installed in Perth, Western Australia. From then on, with few exceptions, all racecourses installed Win & Place equipment. The Ticket Issuing Machines were divided so that some sold Win and others sold Place. The method of calculating the dividend for the Place pool was such that the total money invested on the placed horses was taken out of the net pool and the remainder was divided by the number of dividends to be declared and this figure was divided by the units bet on each placed horse. During the next ten years the Company installed equipment on 27 racecourses in India, Ceylon, Malaysia, Singapore, France, New Zealand and Canada. The biggest order during this period was equipment for Longchamp, Paris, in 1926, and this was the largest order undertaken by the Company until the order for Caracas, Venezuela in 1957, over 30 years later.
The French order meant considerable design work, as now, for the first time, the Adders were to be divorced from the Indicators. The Adders had to have a capacity of a minimum of 273 Ticket Issuing Machines through a Distributor connected to one Escapement Wheel, over 35 Escapement Wheels where needed on each Adder. The Adder design was a feat of mechanical engineering, all values and transfers being mechanically linked. The Ticket Issuing Machine design also was a remarkable piece of engineering and saw the introduction of a machine to sell both Win & Place tickets from the one machine. This was a big step forward and proved to be one of the main features for many years to come. The equipment for Longchamp was manufactured in the factory at Alice Street, Newtown, N.S.W. except for the Ticket Issuing Machines, which were made in Paris under supervision.
Up till this time, only pool figures were displayed to the public but, in 1927, Mr. Julius came to light with automatic odds, which was probably the biggest milestone in the Company's existence. Models of this type of equipment were taken to London and North and South America. In 1930, Automatic Odds Equipment was installed at Harringay Dog Track in London, and the following year Automatic Odds Barometer Indicators were installed at Flemington, Caulfield, Moonee Valley and at Williamstown Racecourses in Victoria, Australia. It is as well to point out here that at this stage legislation had only just been passed to permit totalizator betting in the State of Victoria and that these installations were done in the middle of the depression years and represented the largest single bulk order from a group of racecourses. During this period an associate company, Totalisators Ltd, was formed in London to manufacture, install and operate totalizators in the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa.
On the first installation at Harringay Dog Track, in London, odds were displayed on a Digital Indicator and a pointer, like the hands of a watch, indicating the odds on the particular starter. The mechanical analogue Odds Computer was an ingenious device which undoubtedly put the company in the forefront as Totalizator Engineers.
Immediately after the depression, Automatic Odds installations went to India, New Zealand and right throughout Australia. The first installation in the United States was made in 1932, when equipment was installed at Hialeah Racetrack in Miami, Florida. The second world war in the late 1930s put an end to totalizator manufacture and installation for almost 10 years. During the war years the factory, which had moved to Chalmers Street Sydney in 1933, went into full production for the Department of Defence and later the company expanded the munitions work to include tooling.
In late 1945, the company started in earnest to design totalizator equipment for post war use and, at this time, the J8 ticket issuing machine was born. The J8 proved to be a durable addition to the Automatic Totalisators terminal range. Up until October 1995, The Royal Turf Club of Thailand continued to use J8s as the on-course ticket issuing machine. Along with the ticket issuing machines, there was need for new designs in Mechanical Analogue Computers, Adders, Odds Relay Units and Indicators. The factory therefore, continued on at war time tempo for many years, in an attempt to fulfill the orders that kept rolling in. The company moved to the factory at Meadowbank in 1947.A J8 Ticket Issuing Machine
The first batch of J8 Win, Place ticket issuing machines was installed on Randwick Race Course in 1948. The delivery of these ticket issuing machines to Randwick released a quantity of the existing J6 ticket issuing machines for despatch, along with some 2-shaft adding units, to the United States for use at Randall Park Racetrack. This was a stop gap move and in 1950 the company installed new equipment on this racetrack. That same year an associate company, Automatic Totalisators (U.S.A.) Ltd. was formed to purchase equipment from the parent company and lease it to racetrack operations in the U.S.A. This Company became a subsidiary and by 1967 the company had 23 operations in the United States and Canada.
In 1948 the first mobile tote was manufactured, and was used in the Sydney metropolitan and near country areas. In later years many more of these units were manufactured.
At this time the company entered the busiest period of manufacture and installation in its life. Simultaneously it was manufacturing and installing equipment for racetracks in India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America. In all, it installed equipment in 99 race tracks throughout the world between 1948 and 1955. The bulk of this equipment was for Win, Place pools only. At this stage, it catered for doubles and quinella pools with small fields only, but very soon after was confronted with the possibility of having to provide equipment for 24 starter fields.
The first real challenge came when all the Melbourne racetracks wanted combination pool equipment. In 1955 the company conceived the idea of using the principle of punched tape for recording investments on these pools and, in 1956 the company provided equipment in Melbourne using newly designed J10 24 starter ticket issuing machines, along with punched tape recorder and electronic readers. This equipment marked another milestone in the history of progress and within several years, this punched tape combination betting equipment was installed in South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, and every capital city in Australia.
The company advanced into the sixties installing conventional equipment throughout the world, with the betting trend swinging more towards the combination betting pools than ever. Public indication of the state of betting in these pools had always been a problem. At Harold Park, the company installed a quinella indicator with 66 combinations, that is, quinella odds for 12 starters.
In 1964 the company took over Bell Punch New Zealand Ltd purchasing all their equipment in the field, taking over the operation of all their installations and this company was later known as New Zealand Totalisators Limited.
Automatic infield lamp box odds indicators were installed in 1965 on all the Melbourne metropolitan racecourses, including the new racecourse at Sandown Park. In some cases the barometer indicators were retained, and the company designed the equipment to allow these indicators to work in parallel with the lamp box indicators. Here the company had a link of the old with the new, namely the 1931 barometer indicators and the 1965 odds lamp boxes.
New control, access and aggregating equipment was also supplied to Melbourne and installed in an air conditioned van which moved from track to track. At the race track, the equipment was plugged into the racetrack facilities, plus an off-course console which allowed the off-course investments to be stored in the van so that, for odds and dividend calculations, the off-course investments could be added to the on-course investments.
In 1966 Automatic Totalisators Ltd took the racing industry into the electronic era with the development of the World's First Computer Totalizator System, for the New York Racing Association, which handled a totalizator turnover each season of over $700 million. This system had 550 type J11 Ticket Issuing Machines, two Infield Lamp Box type Indicators and twenty Auxiliary Odds Lamp Box Indicators. This installation was the culmination of many years of research and development. The equipment was portable and was moved from Aqueduct to Belmont Park and Saratoga, the northern tip of New York State, where a smaller operation was conducted making a total of 234 race day operations per year. Premier Equipment Pty Ltd, a subsidiary maintained and operated the equipment for all 234 race meetings.
Inspired by the success at Aqueduct, further research and development led to a more compact and economical Electronic Totalizator System using small General Purpose Computers with all the features of the Aqueduct system. This new electronic totalizator made its debut in November,1968 at a harness track in Georgetown, Delaware, U.S.A., and at Happy Valley racecourse, Hong Kong.
The last Julius Totalizator ceased operation at Harringay London in 1987.
Postscript - It is now June 2005 and I have just received mail from Caracas. I was informed that the Julius tote there is still in operation. After 48 years of operation I have been asked if I have any information on how to make adjustments to the system to bring it up-to-date!
Comments and suggestions welcome to email@example.com
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