This 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 Ltd, the company founded to develop, manufacture and export these systems. This image shows the central processing system of the Longchamps Julius Tote and presents some newspaper clippings associated with this system as well as a description of the machinery in the image.

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The World's Biggest Tote 1927

The Longchamps Electro Mechanical Computer Room

This is an image of the adders in the machine room, or in contemporary terms what could be thought of as the computer room, of the Longchamps electro mechanical totalizator system. This system was described in a Paris newspaper as "The Insatiable Moloch". I suspect this name, is a reflection of the fact that, this is a system that can inflict a heavy penalty, stemming from its appetite for money that cannot be satisfied. People at the time had never seen a machine capable of extracting large amounts of money from the populace. Nowadays we call them computers. More after the image...
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Photo by KEYSTONE VIEW Co. 100 Rue Richelieu (le Journal) Paris

The adder on the left side of the image above, with two people looking at it, has the rear end visible between the two. This rear end houses the solenoids that receive impulses from the ticket issuing machines, which cause escapements to activate allowing the rotation of the adding shafts. The rotation of each escapement on an adding shaft is summed by the epicyclic gear train. The scanners shown in the fourth photo in the Longchamps section of the photo gallery multiplexes seven Ticket Issuing Machines onto each of these solenoids. Therefore these adders must support at least 39 escapement wheels to cater for the 273 terminals used at this racetrack. The adder on the left hand side but closer than the one just discussed shows a close up of this section of the adder. Unfortunately it has its dust covers over this section of the adder obscuring the escapements and epicyclic gear trains. It does however reveal the nearest bank of six solenoids at the nearest corner of the adder. The tubular rods extending to the left from each of the adding shafts are devices called storage screws. These are a mechanical form of memory which is written to in the form of angular displacement by the adding shafts and is read by the inertia limited parts of the system as they are able to catch up.

The Largest Austral-French Commercial Transaction

This Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate article demonstrates the significance of the Longchamps contract for Australia.

1926 'TOTALISATOR FOR FRANCE.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , 22 March, p. 5, viewed 20 May, 2015,
Universal Automatic Totalisators, Limited, Sydney, has contracted to instal at Longchamps totalisator machines of the type used in Sydney.

At first they will be operated by Australians to allow of a French staff being trained. This, together with the contract signed by Mr. Bethell on behalf of the same company last month to instal totalisators at 16 French racecourses is the largest Austral-French commercial transaction yet effected.

The World's Biggest Tote 1927

The following article from the Trove Archive, indicates that Longchamps was the World's Biggest Tote. The White City Julius Tote took this title in 1933, and according to the following article, Longchamps took the title from another Julius Tote at Bombay.

1927 'World's Biggest Tote.', The Midlands Advertiser (Moora, WA : 1907 - 1930), 1 April, p. 4, viewed 21 May, 2015,

World's Biggest Tote
To travel half way round the world to instal an Australian invention is an unusual undertaking, and reveals the confidence which the foreign contractor places on the Australian apparatus. It was interesting to learn from Mr G. A. Julius, managing director of Automatic Totalisators Ltd., a few days ago, that this firm had been successful in signing a contract for the establishment of the largest automatic totalisator in the world at Long champs, the biggest racecourse in Europe, let alone France.

Longchamps, as a racecourse, is noted throughout the world, for there among other races, the Grand Prix is run.

Under the contract the first section of the contract has to be working by September next, and already workmen are busy in Sydney in constructing the more intricate parts required, although probably for future installations the bulk of the work will be done in France by French engineers, after they have had an opportunity of inspecting the machine. It is estimated that the apparatus when completed will cost about £100.000.

The present contract is all the more interesting because it is the first time that an automatic totalisator has been installed to take the place of the 'parimutuel,' which has been in use in France since about 1870. The new totalisator will have no less than 260 selling windows and private tickets from five and 500 francs in value.

Bombay at present has the largest automatic totalisator in the world supplied by the Australian, firm and it is learned that the Longchamps one will be at least three times the size of Indian one. Next in point of size come Randwick and Auckland, Automatic Totalisators, Ltd, it is learned, have supplied 'totes' to all the big courses in Australia (excepting Victoria, of course, where the machine is not legalised) and to New Zealand, Colombo, Madras, Rangoon and Singapore, while recently a contract has been signed for an installation in Ipoh.

The Longchamps System's Successful Opening

1928 'TOTALISATOR IN PARIS.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , 30 March, p. 7, viewed 20 May, 2015,
It is the unanimous verdict in Paris, after the trial meeting at Longchamps, that the introduction of the Australian totalisator is a success.

The small huts necessary for the pari mutual will be replaced by buildings in perfect harmony with the grandstands. Crowds all day long in front of the different boards were astonished at the precision with which the machine made calculations, and also the rapid display of betting and placed horses. After the first race it took ten minutes to post up the figures but by the third race the figures were available as quickly as in Australia. Under the pari mutual system backers waited for more than half-an-hour to know the figures.

One and a Half Million Tickets sold at Grand Prix de Paris

1928 'The Totalisator.', Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), 11 July, p. 3, viewed 20 May, 2015,
The Totalisator.
France being the home of the pari mutuel, the lightning calculator of' the Australian totalisator is much appreciated at Longchamps. The machine has an immense amount of work to do. For example, investments on the Grand Prix de Paris, run a few days ago, reached no less than £60,000. The record for a single race at Randwick is £22,000.

In Sydney, with the denomination of the tickets ten shillings, that means 44,000 registrations. The French denomination is five francs, and, as a franc is worth only twopense, no fewer than a million and a half registrations were needed to put through the money invested on the Grand Prix. Everything is working smoothly with the recently-installed machine, and the celerity with which it announces dividends has caught the fancy of the volatile Frenchmen.

Chairman of Automatic Totalisators France Talks about sale of interests at Longchamps

1933 'AUTOMATIC TOTALISATORS (FRANCE).', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 11 October, p. 17, viewed 20 May, 2015,
Mr. E. H. Buchanan, chairman of Automatic Totalisators (France) Ltd., told shareholders at the annual meeting yesterday that the suggestion that the company should sell its rights at Longchamp had been again considered during the year, and an offer had been made to the stewards of the Societe d'Encouragement for the sale of the installation at Longchamp. Although the offer had not been accepted, a suggestion had been made that the stewards would seriously consider the matter at a slightly lower figure than the company asked for. The directors were of the opinion, he continued, that the asset was much too valuable to be sold for the amount suggested, and nothing more has been done at the moment in regard to the proposed sale.

Automatic Totalisators (France) Limited Prospectus

In August 2015, Peter Collier and his wife Irene, visited Narelle and I in Toowoomba from Melbourne, whilst on holiday in Queensland. Peter was the chief engineer of Automatic Totalisators Limited in Victoria prior to and whilst I was his counterpart in Queensland. Peter gave me a video of the Mornington Julius Tote after it had been decommissioned. He also gave me a copy of a prospectus for Automatic Totalisators France, which I have provided extracts from here.


Automatic Totalisators (France) Limited

To be registered under the Companies Acts of New South Wales

CAPITAL - £250,000

Divided into 250,000 shares of £1 each, of which 150,000 are to be 10% cumulative preference shares and 100,000 are to be ordinary shares.


The holders of preference shares shall have the right:--

  1. To a fixed cumulative preferential dividend of ten per cent. per annum.
  2. After provision for the payment of a dividend at the rate of not less than £10 per cent. per annum on the capital for the time being paid up on the ordinary shares to participate equally with the holders of ordinary shares, and, in proportion to the capital paid up thereon, in any further dividends which may be declared up to but not exceeding £15 per cent. per annum (including the 10 per cent. preference dividend).
Automatic Totalisators Limited is to guarantee the payment of all dividends on the preference shares issued by the Company during the term (20 years) of the agreement with the Société d'Encouragement mentioned hereafter.

The holders of preference shares shall have the right to elect annually from their number one Director to the Board of Directors, to attend all general meetings of the Company, to receive reports, balance sheets and all notices of meetings, to vote either in person or by proxy at any general meeting of the Company if such meeting is convened for the purpose of reducing the capital or winding up or sanctioning a sale of the undertaking or when the proposition to be submitted to the meeting directly affects the rights and privileges of the holders.

The Articles of Association of the Company shall also provide that none of the said preference shares shall be paid off unless such payment be approved by at least three-fourths in nominal value of such issued preference shares or is confirmed by an extraordinary resolution passed by the holders of such shares.

Applications are now invited for 100,000 preference shares payable as follows :-
With application.. .. .. .. ..2/6pershare
Upon allotment.. .. .. .. ..2/6""
31st January, 1927.. .. .. .. ..2/6""
28th February, 1927.. .. .. .. ..2/6""
31st March, 1927.. .. .. .. ..2/6""
30th April, 1927 .. .. .. .. ..2/6""
31st May, 1927 .. .. .. .. ..2/6""
30th June, 1927 .. .. .. .. ..2/6""

Any subscriber may with his application pay the whole amount on the shares applied for, in which case dividends will accrue from date of allotment.

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The remaining 50,000 preference shares will be held in reserve and if it is decided at any time to issue all or any part thereof they will be offered in the first instance to the holders of preference shares in proportion to their respective holdings.


EDWARD H. BIJCHANAN. Architect, 26 O'Connell Street, Sydney.

FREDERICK A, THORPE, Company Manager, 339 Kent Street, Sydney.

GEORGE A. JULIUS, Consulting Engineer, 67 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

One to be elected by the holders of preference shares at the first meeting of the Company.

Consulting Engineer:

GEORGE A. JULIUS, B.Sc., B.E., M.I.Mech.E., M.I.E.Aust., 67 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.


Messrs. BRAUND & WATT, 26 O'Connell Street, SYDNEY.



Auditors (pro tem.):

Messrs. McDONALD, ROSS & CO., 60 Margaret Street. SYDNEY.

Secretary (pro tem.):

L. L. RAYMOND. A.l.l.A., Manager and Secretary, Automatic Totalisators Ltd., 60 Margaret Street, SYDNEY.

Automatic Totalisators (France) Ltd. Will hold Sole Rights.

The Company is being formed for the purpose of acquiring from Automatic Totalisators Limited (a Company incorporated in the State of New South Wales and having its registered office at 60 Margaret Street, Sydney) its sole and exclusive French rights.

These rights include the full benefit of the patents in France which that Company is entitled to hold respecting Racecourse Totalisators and Machines for issuing tickets and for computing and indicating the totals thereof; also the full benefit of an agreement entered into on the 26th day of January, 1926, between that company and the Société d'Encouragement pour l'amélioration des Races de Chevaux en France-Society of Encouragement for the Betterment of Horse Racing in France- (the head office of which is in Paris) for the installation of a complete Automatic Totalisator system to handle the whole of the betting at Longchamp Racecourse, the largest in Paris. Webmaster's comment: Note the use of the word Computing in this paragraph, long before the invention of the world's first electronic digital computer, the type of machine that ultimately replaced these electromechanical Julius Totes. In the contention whether electromechanical computing existed here is an example of this system being attributed the function of computing in 1926, decades before it was applied to electronic computers.

The Longchamp Racecourse StandsImage of the Longchamps stands

The above image, that is not part of the prospectus shows the stands at Longchamp racecourse, which the prospectus indicates above was the largest in Paris. The photograph was taken during the time of the Julius tote. The nearest building, housed the Julius tote machine room and the slot like windows in the side of the building contain the Julius tote's runner total investment displays.

The consideration for the acquisition as aforesaid is to be the sum of £120,000 to be paid by the allotment to the Company or its nominees of £100,000 fully paid up ordinary shares of £1 each and £20,000 in cash, of which amount, however, £5,000 is not to be paid until such time as the deposit of £5.000 hereinafter mentioned is refunded by the Comptoir National d'Escompte de Paris.

Totalisators Will Replace Obsolete Betting System.

The Agreement between Automatic Totalisators Limited and the Société d'Encouragement pour l'amélioration des Races de Chevaux en France provides for the complete installation of two Premier Totalisators* and two hundred Ticket Issuers with all the necessary equipment ready for racing in September, 1927. Contingent provision is also made for the installation of a further fifty Ticket Issuers.

The agreement also provides for payment of a commission of one per centum on the total investments recorded through the machines for a period of twenty years from the date of the official opening, during which time the Company is to provide for the technical management of the machines.

With the object of assuring the smooth running of the system, the Company is to undertake the complete operation of the Totalisator system for one year, for which services an extra one-half per centum commission on the total investments is to be paid, making the total commission payable for the first year one and a half per centum.

In this connection it might be pointed out that the turnover through the present Pari-Mutuel at the Longchamp Racecourse during the year 1925 was £2,120,654--almost equal to the investments made on the whole of the Sydney racecourses during the same year.

The agreement, also provides for the possible future installation of Premier Totalisators on the Société's; other two Racecourses at Chantilly and Deauville, investments at which last year were respectively £400,000 and £250.000--each greater than the turnover at any course in New South Wales outside of Randwick.

* "Premier Totalisators" is the Trade Name of the automatic totalisators manufactured by Automatic Totalisators Ltd.

Permission has been given by the Société above mentioned to the formation of a subsidiary Company to carry out the terms of the agreement.

After exhaustive investigation of the Company's patents and machines, the French Government has officially approved of the machines and given the necessary authorisation for their installation at Longehamp.

Illustrious Personnel of French Turf Society.

The eighteenth century saw horse racing introduced into France from England, the first races being held in 1776 on the Sablans Plain with English racehorses. But apart from a few tentative efforts, racing was only started "officially" in France by the decree of 31st August, 1805, signed by Napoleon at the Boulogne camp, and it was not until 21st August, 1819, that regular races were organised on the Champ de Mars, Paris.

At first progress was slow. The State gave small prizes and alone controlled the races. Little by little, however, sportsmen became so interested that Lord Henry Seymour, the Comte de Combis, the Duc de Guiche, M. Rieussee and the Comte Maxime Caccia decided, with the object of improving the breed of horses in France, to make horse racing popular by offering good prizes.

They began in the year 1833 by founding the Société d'Encouragement, which organised a Spring Meeting at the Champ de Mars on 11th November, 1834, where, until then, the Government races had been run. On 15th May, 1835, the Société opened the Chantilly racecourse, but did not give up control of the Champ de Mars (which, despite its uneven ground and lack of space, was very near the heart of Paris) until 23rd March, 1856, when it obtained from the City of Paris a concession of sixty-six hectares in the Longehamp plain for laying out a racecourse, and the opening of the Longchamp Racecourse took place a year later, on 26th April, 1857.

The Société owns a magnificent five-storey building, recently constructed in the Rue du Cirque, Paris, at a cost of 13,000,000 francs, for their offices and administration quarters, and also a very well laid out Ticket Printing Factory in the Longchamp locality.

The membership of the Société is much coveted and is limited to forty members. The present members of the Société are as follows :-

Honorary Members:
H.M. The King of England.H.M. The King of Spain.
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.S.A.R. Duc d'Aoste.
Lord Derby.The Duke of Portland.
Lord Durham.Perry Belmont.
Viscount Harcourt.

The rest of this list has been omitted.

Pari-Mutuel Must Give Way To Totalisators.

There is no Automatic Totalisator in France, all betting being done by the Pari-Mutuel system. Under this system tickets are printed before race days and bound in books somewhat similar to Art Union Tickets as used here.

Sales of these tickets are made from booths situated in various places on the course, and when a race starts an army of accountants collects particulars of the sales on each horse from each booth. This information is collected in a central office and from the totals so ascertained the pool is declared and dividends payable calculated.

A selling booth in one of the Longchamp standsImage of a selling booth in a Longchamps stand

The image above is not part of the Prospectus. It shows a selling booth in a stand at Longchamps, as mentioned above. The metalwork protruding upwards from the bench, in front of the seller, on the other side of the bench, is the lid of a J5 TIM (Ticket Issuing Machine). The Longchamps system ended up with 273 TIMs.

It can be readily understood that the working of "pari-mutuelles" as compared with the Automatic Totalisator is very unsatisfactory.

From reports received from France we find that the results are invariably not known until about twenty minutes after the race is run, and frequently dividends arc not paid until forty or forty- five minutes after the finish of a race.

The inconvenience caused to the public is obvious, and complaints are many, bnt so far the public is apparently unaware that there is a means of overcoming the trouble.

It is anticipated that when the Premier Automatic Totalisator is installed at Longchamp, public feeling will force the other racing organisations to follow suit, and a few years should see the Premier Machines installed on all the principal courses in France.

Further Contracts Do Not Mean More Capital

Most careful estimates of the expenditure have been made, and the figures arrived at indicate that the capital, for which subscription is sought, will be sufficient to meet all expenses likely to be incurred in connection with this agreement, leaving ample margin to cover brokerage, preliminary and formation expenses and the working capital necessary to carry on until such time as the Company's business becomes revenue producing. In this connection it may be pointed out that once the machines are installed at Longehamp, no further capital outlay will be necessary at that course, as the commission will be payable to the Company immediately after each race meeting.

Further contracts will not require fresh capital, as other Clubs installing machines will be expected to pay costs of manufacture and installation.

The obtaining of the contract by Automatic Totalisators Limited from the Société d'Encouragement pour l'amélioration des Races de Chevaux en France for the installation of Premier Automatic Totalisators at Longchamp represents a notable achievement. It has already been mentioned that negotiations in connection with France have extended over and been active during a period of no less than six years.

The great difficulty was the lack of knowledge of the French people as to actually what an Automatic Totalisator was and the manner in which its functions could be performed. It is confidently anticipated that its installation at Longchamp will immediately revolutionise the ideas of the French racing public as to Totalisator betting, and the Directors of Automatic Totalisators Limited are more than confident that large and important installations in France will inevitably and quickly follow the introduction of these machines at France's premier racecourse.

One Automatic Totalisator always means more.

The experience of the Vendor Company in all countries has been that the initial installation has invariably been followed by others. That this is so is amply borne out by the following list of installations already constructed by Automatic Totalisators Limited:-- Webmaster's Note: I have omitted the list of 26 systems as these and more are well covered in other pages of this site.

The first installation, outside Australia was that at Colombo, Ceylon. An indication of its success is amply evidenced by the important installations at Madras and Bombay in India, also at Rangoon, British Burmah and Singapore in the Straits Settlements.

The installation at Bombay, which was used for the first time in December, 1925, proved such a success that a further order for two similar machines has been received, and these machines are now being installed at the racecourse at Bombay.

As the result of the installation of the two Premier Totalisators at Colombo in 1922, the Totalisator business has grown to such dimensions that the Club has just placed an order for two more much larger machines, which will be installed for their 1927 racing season.

Fancy Line

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