This technology history page contains a photograph, which is one of several belonging to the photo gallery pages, which are part of several pages relating to the invention of the world's first automatic totalizator in 1913 and Automatic Totalisators Limited, the Australian company founded in 1917 by George Julius, to develop manufacture and export these systems.

The Top of a J1 Ticket Issuing Machine (TIM) 1916

This image shows the top of a J1 Ticket Issuing Machine which was in operation in 1916, with its side covers in place and the top cover hinged open. Multiples of these machines were used on racetracks, as part of a Julius Totalisator, to record and sell totalisator tickets. The previous image in the photo gallery shows this machine with the side panels removed. To view the previous image click on the image below and scroll up and select the previous image thumbnail. This J1 is purely mechanical. The Julius Totes became electromechanical in 1917, to amongst other things, provide for larger systems and more distributed points of sale. A drive pulley can be seen at the rear of the machine. On the nearside is a keyboard with typewriter-like keys numbered 1 to 30. Each key represents a runner in a race which means the maximum field size is 30.

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This photograph is over a century old and was 100 years old in 2016--Terminals for a real time multi user computing system over a century ago!


This J1 TIM, along with others, were part of an on-line, real-time, multi-user system long before the electronic systems that made these concepts commonplace. This system was referred to as The Most Modern Machine in Australia when this was used as a subtitle for an article in The West Australian Newspaper about the Julius Totalisator in Perth which used the J1s. An extract from this article is included below. For some reason the J1 in this image looks well used, in contrast with all the other company photographs of equipment I have seen, which all looks brand new. Perhaps the company only started systematically documenting its products after this system was in operation for some time or even after it was superseded.

Sir George Julius made a comment in a 1932 article, which appeared in the Gippsland Times Newspaper relating his thoughts on development of the totalisator. The content of this article is made available by the National Library of Australia on its Trove website with the following details:
1932 'HOW THE AUTOMATIC TOTALISATOR WAS INVENTED', Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), 7 January, p. 3. , viewed 20 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62691937

Following are comments relating to Sir George's early design philosophy and the future of totalisator design, extracted from the Gippsland Times article. The first sentence explains his original design philosophy, which was purely mechanical and resulted in two purely mechanical totalisators being built. The first was installed at Ellerslie in New Zealand, the system that was the world's first Automatic Totalisator, and a second at Gloucester Park in Perth. The J1 Ticket Issuing machine shown above, is an example of this purely mechanical design. The second paragraph indicates Sir George's change in design philosophy, to embrace electrical elements in future systems, which were incorporated in the central processing system or mainframe, as well as in the TIMs. These electrical elements are implemented in all the following TIMs in the photo gallery. During the computer era a process took place of increasingly implementing funtionality electronically resulting in TIMs with only essential mechanical components where functions cannot be performed electronically. Following are the extracts from the Gippsland Times article:

I had the idea that if electric current were employed definite action could not be guaranteed due to the permissive action of electricity as compared with positive action of a piece of machinery.

I soon discovered, however, that a design restricted to the use of positive mechanism would cripple development, as the machinery was very heavy and all the recording had to be centred at one spot. Attention was then directed to a machine in which electricity would be the connecting medium, but with safeguards to ensure that if there were any failure, the operator would be warned, and the ticket not issued.

Nowadays, we have a word for Sir George's words a machine in which electricity would be the connecting medium, he is talking about a Network. Additionally Sir George's words with safeguards to ensure that if there were any failure, the operator would be warned, and the ticket not issued would in the computer era be referred to as, error detection with error handling.

Sir George also made an observation about Australian workmen, in this Gippsland Times newspaper article. Sir George's concluding statement in the article is: These machines have all been built in Australia in almost every detail, and are a tribute to the abilities of the Australian workman. This applies to complete totalisator systems, including the central processing mainframe, as well as the TIMs and display systems and as such, applies to all the Julius Tote machinery on this website. In the computer era, when Sir George was deceased, Automatic Totalisators Limited, or what later became known as ATL, used DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) Minicomputer systems as the basis of the central processing part of the totalisator, which were manufactured in Massachusetts in the USA.

The complete transcript of the Gippsland Times article titled How the Automatic Totalisator was Invented appears on this website in the Mechanical Aids to Calculation chapter. To view this, click on the image above. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Go to the index menu option in the Nav Bar and select the Mechanical Aids to Calculation chapter.

Following is an extract from an article in The West Australian newspaper dated Thursday 13 May 1915, titled THE TOTALISATOR with subtitle Most Modern Machine in Australia, which describes the new Julius Totalisator system for Gloucester Park which relates to and indirectly refers to the J1 Ticket Issuing Machines, which are in use at the mentioned "selling windows": Further, under the existing arrangements anyone purchasing a ticket on a particular horse must go to that window over which the name of that particular horse appears. With the new tote, however, which will contain six selling windows, the purchaser has only to go to that window which lies nearest to hand, or which is at the moment most easily accessible, and ask for and purchase the ticket required, - the only difference being that instead of, as at present, asking for a ticket on such and such a horse, the purchaser will tell the clerk that he wants a ticket on such and such a number, which corresponds in the race book with the name of the horse he requires to invest upon. This arrangement, under the old system, would naturally lead to some confusion, delay, and often mistakes. Under the new system, however, all such difficulties are overcome with mathematical precision. Every selling clerk is equipped with a machine, from which he may sell tickets on any one of the 28 hordes provided for. But every one of the machines works in complete sympathy with the others, and every machine is connected in a similar manner with the number registration board at the top and outside of the building. The mechanism is so adjusted that if all the machines sold in one minute at their maximum quantity, namely, 3,000 tickets not only would the ticket, be passed through to the various purchasers in that time, but throughout the operation the registration board would go on showing the increase in the number of tickets sold on each of the horses, and at the end of the minute the total number of tickets disposed of would be there for the information of the public, who would thus be made aware on the instant of the exact odds at which each horse stood.

I find the above extract particularly interesting; Here in the words of a writer in 1915, following his sentence Under the new system, however, all such difficulties are overcome with mathematical precision, he has described a real time multi user system in operation, a system which happens to be purely mechanical. A real time multi user system today, is considered the sole domain of computers. The things that get forgotten, even a behemoth machine like the Julius Tote, implemented and utilised around the world, with lifespans reaching half a century! Unfortunately they operated in clandestine environments. I find it additionally interesting to note that this activity is all taking place whilst the First World War is raging. The wheels of the Totalisator keep turning regardless! This reminds me of another example of this. During World War 2, an Automatic Totalisators Limited engineer was interred in Manila by the Japanese Army. He was allowed out on the week ends to run the totalisator!

More of this article from The West Australian newspaper, can be accessed from the first page of the Photo Gallery of this website. Click on the image above, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Previous page in the navigation bar at the bottom, then scroll down in the directory of photographs to the heading Gloucester Park Trotting Track Western Australia and select the image thumbnail with the associated text starting Western Australian Trotting Association's Tote..., then scroll down to the subtitle Most Modern Machine in Australia.