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 to develop, manufacture and export these systems.

A historic 3 shaft adder used in Julius Totes

This is a three shaft adder with a capacity to support up to 240 ticket issuing machines, which is part of a much larger totalisator system. The mainframe of these systems required a large machine room to house it and contained many adders. For example, 50 in the case of a 24 runner Win Place system. That comprises 24 for each runner in the Win pool and another 24 for each runner in the Place pool and a Win pool and Place pool grand total adder. In other words, the adder shown totals the investment on one runner in a race.

The three adding shafts are clearly visible across the top of the three horizontal segments of the adder, each consisting of escapement wheels and epicyclic gears. The solenoids below the escapement wheels activate the escapements when they receive a pulse from a ticket issuing machine via a multiplexer. Bets are recorded as angular displacement of the adding shafts and the total investment is recorded on the counter seen attached to the front of the vertical side plate, above and parallel to the adding shafts.

The distance between the teeth of each escapement wheel on the adding shafts determines the value of the bet, the fewer the teeth on a wheel the higher the value of the bet they register. Note the mercury switch with part of its curved glass tube poking out at the bottom right of the adder on the side plate with two electrical connections visible. This switch was part of a security device that ensured the adder would stop accepting bets if any of the adding shafts lost drive power.

This adder represents mechanical computing on an industrial scale as these systems were mass produced long before the advent of digital computers that replaced them. These adders are an essential component of these early on-line real-time multi-user totalizator systems.


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