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.
This is an image of the world's first automatic totalizator at Ellerslie in 1913. Note the weights with runner numbers on them dangling from wires to the right of the staircase. These provided the motive force for the aggregating equipment. Below the platform level at the bottom of the staircase and to the right of the platform below the weights numbered 21 11 and 22, three selling stations are visible. Some of the operator controlled beer tap handles are visible on the two right hand stations. These handles register the bets and produce tickets.
The photographer's stamp on this photo reads: FARNALL ART PHOTOGRAPHER 402-420 Victoria Arcade Auckland Phone 2974