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 by George Julius in 1917 to develop, manufacture and export these systems.

An old Automatic Totalisators Factory Assembly Section

Electromechanical Computing on an Industrial Scale

This is an early Automatic Totalisators Limited Assembly Section. This almost certainly is the Newtown factory which was located at 146-158 Alice Street Newtown. The roof is synonymous with the tin shed factory in the previous image of the Photo Gallery, which can be seen by clicking on the image below, then scrolling up and selecting the image thumbnail prior to the thumbnail for this image. It is therefore highly probable, that this photograph was taken inside the factory in the previous image.

This Ticket Issuing Machine (TIM) assembly section is manufacturing Julius Tote Ticket Issuing Machines. These TIMs are electromechanical input output devices. This shows the manufacturing of electromechanical computing terminals on an industrial scale! This is obviously long before the advent of OH&S and considerations like posture becoming important. It is interesting to note some of the timeless tools on the near workbench.

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The Photographer's stamp reads: Hall & Co 44 Hunter St. Sydney


Sir George Julius made a comment in a 1932 article, which appeared in the Gippsland Times Newspaper relating to Australian workers. The content of this article is made available by the National Library of Australia on its Trove website with the following details:
1932 'HOW THE AUTOMATIC TOTALISATOR WAS INVENTED', Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954), 7 January, p. 3. , viewed 20 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62691937

Sir George's concluding statement in this article is: These machines have all been built in Australia in almost every detail, and are a tribute to the abilities of the Australian workman.

This comment relates to the standard of work that had been and continued to be performed in the factories of Sir George's company Automatic Totalisators Limited and is probably confirmed by observations relating to his other varied fields of endeavour. In other words, this is a compliment to Australian workmen, particularly the ones working in his factories, like the men in the above image, as well as those in the multitude of staff and factory images, in this website.

The complete transcript of the Gippsland Times article titled How the Automatic Totalisator was Invented appears on this website in the Mechanical Aids to Calculation chapter. To view this, click on the image above. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Go to the index menu option in the Nav Bar and select the Mechanical Aids to Calculation chapter.

I have identified the TIMs being assembled in this image as probably J5s or possibly J6s. There are some tell-tale characteristics that identify the J5 machine some of which also apply to the J6. Firstly the J5 and J6 are quite compact machines compared to some others and this is evident of the machines on this workbench.

Also, in the nearest TIM, which does not have anyone working on it, there is an arched arm near perpendicular to the flat surface of the mounting frame that is propped up at approximately 45 degrees to the bench. The top of this arm has a hole through it which is the pivot point for the print head assembly. This arm itself is pivoted at the bottom end and when the assembly process reaches a state of completeness in this area, this arm is swung down and rests on top of underlying assemblies. This brings it close to the ticket paper which is drawn across the top of the runner number wheel which can be clearly seen protruding from the bottom of the mounting frame into the hole in the desk.

Now looking at the TIM to the left of this one, which has the man whose legs and feet are visible, working on it, we can see the underside of the machine. An arc can be seen in the top right quadrant with the convex side extending up towards the top right corner and extending somewhat into the bottom right quadrant. This is where the Horse Halo is mounted which contains a series of electrical contacts, one for each runner. On the top side of the machine the runner selector handle moves around in this arc and when the runner selector handle is in the position of a particular selected runner a wiper attached to the arc makes electrical contact which identifies the particular runner. The J5 and J6 are the only TIMs I know of where the runner selector arm sweeps around the bottom right corner of the machine.

Next, moving to the opposite side of the bench, we can see the upper top left corner of the TIM, where the man working on this machine has the top of his head facing the camera. His left hand is over a silver circular object. This is the main drive pulley, driven by an electric motor which is mounted on the bottom of the TIM but none of the TIMs in the picture with the bottom side visible has the drive motor installed yet. This exactly matches the J5 and J6 machines.

Finally to the man on the far right who is facing the camera. His right hand is on a drive wheel and over a tall rectangular assembly. This rectangular assembly contains the lower pivot point of the arched arm previously mentioned and sits on top of the ribbon and paper transport systems. This assembly is prominent in this perspective of the J5.

As the Longchamps J5s were manufactured in Paris under supervision, with all other equipment being manufactured at the ATL Alice street factory, the TIMs in this image may be for Sydney where they were already in operation when the Longchamps project started, opening in 1927, or Singapore, installed in 1926 which also used the J5s or other sites I am not aware of that used J5s. The problem is that I do not know which years the J5s were manufactured. I know they were in Sydney when the Singapore project started so the latest possible installation for that would have been at Warwick Farm in 1925 with the previous installtation in Sydney being Victoria Park in 1923. On the conservative side supposing the J5s were introduced in 1925 there were eight other installations before Longchamps. Not knowing when J5 production ceased, there were another 21 installations that were catered for by this factory before the factory moved to Chalmers street. I think it would be fairly safe to say that this photograph was taken in the mid to late 1920s.

The following comment was made regarding the TIMs for the French project and probably applies to the machines being manufactured in the image above: The Ticket Issuing Machine design also was a remarkable piece of engineering and saw the introduction of a machine to sell both Win & Place tickets from the one machine. This was a big step forward and proved to be one of the main features for many years to come. The equipment for Longchamp was manufactured in the factory at Alice Street, Newtown, N.S.W. except for the Ticket Issuing Machines, which were made in Paris under supervision.

Judging by the amount of ticket paper rolls on the workbench, it looks like a lot of printing alignment took place during the assembly process.

One last trivial comment about this image. Below the knee of the man on this side of the bench is a shelf. On the shilf near his knee is a paper with a strip of wood on top. On a high resolution image of this, it looks like a newspaper with text and faces on it. I can almost make out a sentence on it, the letters that I am sure of read ARE YOU A INKER. With some degree of uncertainty, I think it reads ARE YOU A THINKER. Unfortunately nothing else is discernible. Wouldn't a date have been wonderful!