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Postage Stamps

Volume 117: debated on Monday 23 June 1851

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wished to put a question to the Secretary to the Treasury, respecting an operation of great mechanical ingenuity, and which, it was stated by competent authority, would certainly prevent forgeries in respect of letter stamps, and prove of great convenience to the public at large. He wished to know whether the machine for perforating the sheets of postage labels which was furnished by the patentee to the Commissioners of Stamps in the year 1849, had been found to answer the purpose for which it was intended, and, if so, why perforated postage stamps have not been supplied to the public in accordance with the terms of the arrangement entered into between the Commissioners and the patentee, namely, that he was "to furnish the machine on the understanding that he was not to be repaid the cost thereof, or to receive, compensation for his invention, until the plan was brought into successful operation, or had received the unqualified approbation of the public;" also, whether the perforated postage labels which have been in use in both Houses of Parliament for the last three months have been supplied by the patentee, or, in the usual way, by the postmaster of the district? The noble Lord said, he had heard that the invention was a safeguard against forgery.

said, that the invention had been found to succeed, and a certain sum of money had been awarded by the Treasury to the inventor, Mr. Archer, partly as a reward, and partly for compensation for his machine; but the inventor was not satisfied with the amount awarded, and declined to accept it, and had expressed a wish to remove the machine. Under these circumstances, the Department of Inland Revenue did not feel justified in making use of the machinery, and it remained in the office, without being used. There had, however, been a certain number of perforated stamped sheets furnished, in conformity with the understood wish of the inventor, partly to Members in the library of that House, and partly to the Postmaster, in Bridge-street, Westminster.