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 company founded in 1917 to develop, manufacture and export these systems.

A Win Place and Forecast J8 TIM

This is an image of a J8 TIM (Ticket Issuing Machine). This is a later model to the ones I am familiar with as it supports the Forecast pool as well as the Win and Place pools. The J8 is a significant machine as it probably had one of the longest lifespans of any of the TIMs manufactured by Automatic Totalisators. I remember them well as my PDP 11 tote systems with their J22 TIMs, replaced the Julius totes on the Brisbane tracks, which were predominantly using the J8 TIMs. Win-Place only versions of this machine were strewn all around the tracks that I worked on. In many locations around the tracks they remained, in no longer required locations, for at least a decade after their last operation, some lingered a lot longer.

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This is an Automatic Totalisators Photograph




J8 and Autotote Memories from Joe Brandon

Following is a comment made in 1999, from Joe Brandon, who worked for Autotote, which was Automatic Totalisators' American subsidiary, in which he mentions the J8. I started with Autotote in 1974 at Dania Jai Alai. Ted Taylor (from London) was my boss. I cut my teeth on the J8. I'm now the manager at Atlantic City. Additionally Joe made the following observation in January 2015 relating to some tools, which he used to perform maintenance operations on the J8s: While looking at the J8 in the photo Gallery, it occurred to me I still have my latch up wrenches as well as my original ball peen hammer and punch (for replacing platen pins). The wrenches had to be thin to adjust under the halo. The Halo that Joe refers to is an arc of electrical contacts that sits under the graduated arc on top of the machine. Here is a link where you can have a look at a Horse Halo in the Premier Tote Operations 1930 chapter.

Additionally, in 2015, Joe related how the J8 featured in his meeting Sue, his wife to be. He wrote The story is kind of legend here especially with old Autotote folks and I agree, it is the stuff of legends. Joe's anecdote:
One story I never told you and it has to do with the J8 and how I met my wife. We were installing Miami Jai Alai in 1974. At that time, we had designed what we called a black box which allowed us to interface the J8 in combination with the J11's to our PDP8 computer system and this was the first time we used the configuration. I rewired the plant with Don Raison's son Geoff. After setting up the line right outside the computer room, I was told opening night I would in fact be running the lines in what was called the TV room which was to the right and behind the court.
Now of course, you know what a J8 looks like and on our stands it sat about 3 1/2 feet high or so. When I walked into the room that night there was a young lady selling at the first machine. Let's say she was well endowed to say the least and those puppies were just resting happily and covering half of the top of the J8. Suffice to say I didn't wander far that night and Sue and I are now married, almost 40 years now. True story! If it wasn't for Autotote, I wouldn't have her, that's for sure.

Joe adds the following regarding his wife Sue, She is part of the history in more ways than one because she ended up being one of the greats, as to TIM technicians we had at the other company. Worked for them for over twenty years with me and actually worked her way up to running the Tote at Freehold when I took over the Atlantic City hub. She is actually in charge of our Maintenance Department here in Las Vegas now.

Joe also mentions a type of J8 that must have looked impressive. I'm trying to locate an old picture of me with a J8 back in "74". I hope I can find it because that particular machine was part of a shipment we received, I believe from South Africa at Ft. Pierce Jai Alai the year it opened. The really interesting part is the frames on those machines were brass instead of cast iron.

Joe also provides an interesting insight into dealing with problems on an electromechanical Julius Tote: One good memory of the electro mechanical system. At Ft. Pierce, the WPS, Quin and Exacta were belt driven with the brushes rotating on the commutator as the wagers came in. If the belt broke, especially at Jai Alai, you didn't stop to change the belt. You used your finger to rotate the brush until wagering stopped then you had about 20 minutes to change the belt. Note: WPS is Win Place and Show pools.

I mentioned Graeme Twycross' observation in the Melbourne Cup chapter of this website, about ATL's obtuse concept of portable, to Joe. Graeme stated that ATL would attach handles to anything regardless of weight, to classify it as portable. I also informed Joe that if I had to move a J22, during the period that I worked with them, mainly during the 1980s, I would get someone else to take the second handle. If I did move one on my own it was only a short distance. Joe replied with the following paragraphs:

Man, those J8s were heavy! 85lbs. if I remember right. But there was a heavier one than that. I believe we put the first computer system into Roosevelt Raceway ("59" I think?). It was DEC's first computer as used by us. Webmaster's Note: ("59" I think?) probably should be 1969 as the first DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) based tote we developed was in 1968. After that meet, there was litigation of some sort (between DEC and ATL), of which I never knew the details per say. Anyway, I was sent to the Wilmington office in I believe "76" or so, give or take a year and while there, was assigned to help pull out of storage something called the J10. It was like a J8, frame wise, but bigger and had push buttons on the right and telephone relays mounted inside (I think I'm right on this. Memory gets fuzzy sometimes). They had just been released in conjunction with the litigation I mentioned above, I believe because it was proven they were definitely developed by Automatic Totalisators.
We actually converted them to be used on the PDP8 system with the same relays as we used in the J11. Anyway, those things were even heavier than a J8, if one can believe that! Somewhere around 97lbs. or so.

I was actually working in the shop when they pulled out the J10's. Heavy as hell as he stated. One funny thing occurred when one of the techs. I believe it was Sam Abelman opened the first one and a mouse jumped out. Scared the hell out of him. I remember they had a cage or box inside with old telephone relays like what we used in our old lampboxes. If memory serves, we replaced that with a relay rack something like the J11s. I believe these went to a track somewhere in the Caribbean Islands.

When I started in Feb of 74, Ted was the manager at Dania Jai Alai. He also managed Rocky Mountain Dog Track, Sodrac Park and Jefferson dog tracks. At the time Jean Melanson was the manager at Miami Jai Alai and Don Raison was the head of Field ops. We also had a French Canadian named Mel Parsons who ran tracks up in Northern Canada and Burl Knopp who managed the old Key West J8 installation. Ted was already an old timer when I came along.

Finally, a contemporary note from Joe relating what he is up to in 2015:
I'm still in the business. I left Autotote/Sci-Games ten years ago and I'm now running the tote for Las Vegas Dissemination. It's basically the same system I've been working on forever. The company started out as Autotote CBS and then went private. The owner is the son of the owner of a major casino here who actually at one time owned all the Coast properties. Even cooler, I was able to slip right in as we bought the license to 3 systems from Autotote so I'm really at home with it. We also have 4 programmers here who were with the other company to boot.

Fancy Line

It is interesting to note that The Royal Turf Club of Thailand continued to use the electromechanical Julius J8s as the on-course ticket issuing machine up until October 1995, 3 decades after the advent of the electronic computer totes. Manufacturing of the J8 started in 1945 at ATL's Chalmers Street Factory and continued at the Meadowbank factory when it opened in 1947. This means the The Royal Turf Club of Thailand was still using this type of TIM half a century after they first went into production. They were a very good design!

I only worked on the electronic generations of totalisators so I have no experience with the electromechanical ones. Despite this, from my experience the J8 is probably the most iconic and famous of all the TIMs. I have had large numbers of tote operations staff work for me and met many others from different states. It is amazing how, when talking to sellers with long service, their face lights up, and they become animated, when recalling their early years working with the J8.

The TIM has an arc on the top, graduated with runner numbers. To select a runner number the handle is rotated to the desired runner number or combination for the Forecast pool and the knob on the handle is moved outwards to select the win pool or inwards to select the Place or Forecast pools. In this inward position another knob on the top of the machine to the left of the arc, labelled P and F selects the Place or Forecast pools. When the selection is complete the knob on the handle is pushed down initiating a transaction cycle and the handle is locked for the duration of the cycle. On completion of the transaction cycle the handle is unlocked so the next customer can be served. At the top right of the machine, there is an on off switch and to the left of that a handle release button. The handle release button is used if, due to some fault condition, the transaction cycle does not complete properly. Three sample tickets are visible on top of the machine, above the ticket chute from whence they were issued. All three tickets are Race 6 costing 5 Shillings with the left one being on the Win pool on runner 13, the middle on the Forecast pool on combination 3 and 4, and the right hand ticket the Place pool on runner 4. Down the bottom right corner of the machine are three ticket counters for Win, Forecast and Total.

J8 Memories from Chris Robertson

Following are some observations regarding the J8 TIM from Chris Robertson, the most informed punter on the subject of totalisator systems I know. He refers to me not having seen a J8 in operation, despite my having worked on the system that replaced them:

You really missed something there! A house full of J8 machines flat out was something to behold - and to hear. The depressing and release of the issue button had a sound of its own (clackety-clack), and when a whole bank was in action there was plenty of sound. Swinging the machine's dial looked a lot more fun than pushing buttons on the J10.

An interesting place to watch the J8 in action was at Ireland's greyhound tracks. The machines were configured to sell win, place and forecast (exacta) at all windows. This could be done because, as in the U.K., Irish greyhound field sizes were limited to six runners. The first six positions on the dial's arc were occupied by the numbers 1 through 6, and the next fifteen by the various possible combinations, starting with 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 2-3, 2-4 and so on. If the customer wanted a forecast with the higher number winning, the button was depressed in the 'place' mode. A boxed combination was sold as an 'each way' bet. I saw the J8 at Cork, Waterford and Dublin's Shelbourne Park; while earlier Julius machines were in action at Dublin's Harold's Cross (as at London's White City). This was way back in 1979.

My J8 Ticket Issuing Machine pamphlet gives the following information regarding pools.

POOLS
The different combinations of pools that can be operated from a J8 Ticket Issuing Machine are:--

When the machine is required to sell other than on 24 starters Win and Place, the selector quadrant on the cover of the machine is changed as well as the printing type wheel in the machine.