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 .
I give thanks to the above for their foresight in recording this history. I have been unable to acquire any video footage from the remnants of Automatic Totalisators, the company that produced these systems. Ironically this footage came from the other side of the world.
The system in these clips is not electronic, it is electro mechanical. This technology existed long before the invention of the electronic computer. The Harringay system was installed in 1930. In some cases I have edited the original video to get different views of the same equipment into one clip.
Tim.wmv (1.3Mb)A Julius Ticket Issuing Machine in action
TIM Streaming link
plceaddr.wmv (1.3Mb)The place pool shaft adders
Place Adder Streaming link
fcastadd.wmv (1.2Mb)The forecast pool adders
Forecast Adder Streaming link
scanners.wmv (1.3Mb)The scanners/distributors
Scanners Streaming link
displays.wmv (1.7Mb)The public pool/odds displays
Displays Streaming link
pgt.wmv (1.6Mb)Place GT and forecast adder internals
PGT Streaming link
ovview.wmv (1.4Mb)Race increment / Overview
Overview Streaming link
A link to YouTube containing six video clips extracted from the raw footage of an interview conducted by Racing Queensland in the Eagle Farm Racing Museum in 2009 mainly about the Julius Tote that is the centrepiece of this museum. Interview Clips .
There is another source of video of a working Julius totalisator. The film was shot in 1935. It is titled New tote for Randwick punters. It is available from the National Film and Sound Archive web site. The title number is 187881. The production company is Cinesound Productions. You may be able to attain a private copy of this. It is not possible to attain copyright approval to show this video at the present time.
When you visit the National Film and Sound Archive web site hover on the Collection menu bar option and select Search the collection from the drop down list. Next enter totalisator spelt with an s not a z in the Search for dialogue box and click on the SEARCH button. Finally click on the title SPORT. NEW TOTE FOR RANDWICK PUNTERS
|Technology to listen to|
|Electronic Totalisators II The characteristics of Electronic Totalisators.|
In the machine room of an electro mechanical totalisator there is motion, constant motion, and noise. With betting in progress, the constant chatter of the escapements blends with the purring of the counters and the low rumble of the drives to give a quite characteristic sound. This sound, both in intensity and pitch, indicates to the experienced totalisator operator, even more clearly than his eyes, the state of the queues outside and the conditions around the selling houses. He scarcely needs a clock, so accurately is he able to predict from the betting pattern the time to the start of the next race. The equipment consists of row upon row of shafts and gears and escapement wheels and mechanical counters. At first sight it seems entirely mechanical as the electrical portions are buried deep inside.
With the smaller "counter tote" using electromagnetic counters, the pattern changes to that of a telephone exchange. There is the click of the relays and the clack of the counters as the bets pile up. One is still left with the impression of a mechanical device with the moving counters and manual operations.
However, the position changes entirely when we go to an Electronic Totalisator. The machine room consists of one or more rows of silent steel cabinets. Lights blink continually on the front panels of the cabinets indicating the progress of betting. Every ninety seconds new odds ripple along the boards and with a staccato burst the high speed printer spews out another page of updated odds and pool figures. Otherwise all is silent and the lights blink on. The operators move quietly about, occasionally flipping a switch or pushing a button to stop betting or calculate dividends or complete some similar, but normally laborious, task in the blink of an eye.
Neville Mitchell made an audio tape in 2003, about the workings of these electro mechanical systems, for Bob Doran and Bob Moran (yes two Bobs, one Doran one Moran) both intensely interested in the mechanics and restoration of these systems and having an interest in George Julius and his company Automatic Totalisators. I have included a couple of transcribed extracts here as they can be well visualised in the above video clips. Before I proceed just a bit of frivolous diversion. How do two people with names that differ by one letter only, both become so interested in a man George Julius and his invention? I have often pondered about this. How about this! Bob Doran and Bob Moran differ by one letter. One name has D where the other has M providing two letters. Take D and skip two letters in the alphabet towards M and you get G. Take M and skip 2 letters towards G and you get J. G.J. Hmmm George Julius! Now G and J are separated by two characters in the alphabet H and I. Now what do we have? Hi George Julius. How could they help but be drawn into this subject together!
|The Mystique of these machines|
|Technology to shake to|
After seeing the image I have added to this text Neville sent the following information on 13/1/2010
Yes, the drum adders pictured in the clip are very similar to the adders I re-installed in Bangkok in October 1969. They were used to indicate tickets sold, an odd way of showing the betting "Odds'. The building was a box like construction on steel pylons several metres high under the stand in the Public area of the track. When the betting was as full speed as it was most of the time, the erratic stop start action of the drums caused the building to "shake". The drive to the adders was a 10 hp universal electric motor with a simple field current speed controller, which we had set at an optimum shaft speed.
I did have photo's of this installation, but my camera was lost when my tourist bus overturned near the airport, I was unhurt but the camera disappeared in the chaos after the accident.
|One Manpower Backup|
Did I ever tell you that at Flemington the win place tote could be run with a power shortage, The auxiliary power supply could supply enough power to run the betting circuits, but not enough to run the adder drive motor[s], so a hatch was removed from the floor exposing a wide drive belt, a man would stand on the belt and work it like a treadmill energising the adder input shaft, thus keeping the tote running. Funny how some of the things like the above anecdote come to mind. I was told about this on the day the Flemington tote was taken to the metal recyclers, and I was shown how it worked by Alf Schoffel [ Nick named "snifter" because he always had a runny nose] Alf went to Melbourne in 1936 for 6 weeks for the installation of Flemington, and was still there in 1975.
To find out more about this system, read Charles Norrie's excellent article titled The Harringay Greyhound Stadium Totalisator and George Alfred Julius
Comments and suggestions welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org
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