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, the company founded to develop, manufacture and export these systems.
This image shows one of the many counter wheel adders at Longchamps. The one shown here has five counter wheels whilst the ones at Longchamps had six. There is one of these adders in each of the windows of the Longchamps Pavilion through which the digits on the counter can be seen. The outside views of this building are in the second and fifth photos in the Longchamps section of the Photograph Gallery.
This is a four shaft adder as there are four main adding shafts. There are two shafts side by side that span the width of the adder at the bottom of the image. There are two more shafts between the right hand shaft of the two mentioned and the counter wheels. There are ten escapement wheels and associated solenoids per shaft giving a total of forty escapement wheels and solenoids. The number of teeth on each escapement wheel determines the value of the bet recorded. The more teeth the lower the value. The rotation of every escapement wheel is added by the epicyclic gear train connecting the escapement wheels such that the rotation of the adding shaft at any particular point along the gear train is the sum of the rotation of the escapement wheel at that point and every other escapement wheel upstream from the counter display wheels.
Note that there is a paddle wheel at the end of a shaft on the left hand side of the adder just below the counter wheels at the back. This is an inertia brake. The counter wheels are arranged as a decade counter each counter wheel rotates one digit after ten digits have been displayed in the counter wheel on it less significant digit side. When they were operating the units counter wheel could have such rotational velocity that it appeared as a blur. As betting is erratic there was significant stress placed on the mechanical parts. The worst case scenario occurs when the race begins. The betting activity goes from its peak to nothing. Inertia prohibits machinery from stopping in an instant.This paddle, assisted braking by introducing aerodynamic drag, when the sell rate was rapidly declining.
There is no photographer's stamp on this photograph.
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