The Blacksmiths a part of mechanical computing machinery manufacture

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 photograph of the Blacksmith's shop in an early Automatic Totalisator's factory is something more associated with the horse and cart era, however I have heard many times from people remembering this era how important the Blacksmith's Shop was. Even parts of the early ticket issuing machines were made in the Blacksmith's Shop. As Neville Mitchell said they were part of the industry even when I was there in 1962 there was a blacksmith at the Meadowbank plant. Meadowbank was the last of the Automatic Totalisators' factories. Another comment Neville made about the Meadowbank factory was The back of the factory which backed onto Constitution Road was levelled off. Some sheds were there and they were used first off for the Blacksmith because he was noisy and dirty. He also did some of the small castings in bronze. Those base metal castings in the blacksmiths shop and some of those sections were beaten by hand in the old fashioned way. More after the image...

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The photographer's stamp on the photograph reads: Exchange Studios 49 Pitt St. Sydney WARD & FARREN Proprietors.


On the 17th June 2014, William Johnson, a long serving Automatic Totalisators engineer and manager, who worked overseas on several iconic company projects like Caracas, telephoned me regarding this and other photographs in this photo gallery relating to the Automatic Totalisators Chalmers Street factory. As a result of this conversation and other emailed information I was able to determine that the factory building was still standing. Regarding the Blacksmiths, he recalled being told that there was a document in the company's human resource records that stated that the two blacksmiths had to be looked after. As the story goes, the two blacksmiths had proved outstanding loyalty to the company by working without pay during difficult times and that in recognition of that they had guaranteed employment with the company.

Three days later he sent the following: I will look for the names of the two men from the blacksmiths shop who looked after the de-burring bench at Meadowbank. We apprentices were sent to this bench as a punishment for a week or so when we misbehaved. A necessary but boring part of engineering!