History of the Time-Cummins Cancel

The Time Marking Machine Co. and the B. F. Cummins Co.
(Time/Cummins – from ca. 1898 bis ca. 1944)

It was the standard procedure of the Post Office Department at that time to award annual contracts for the rental of postmarking machines to be awarded. Since the Post Office Department did not allow more than a few months between the acceptance bids and awarding contracts, a company had to have already produced a substantial number of machines before a contract could go into effect.

These cancels and their postmarking machines actually had three fathers. First the

Time Marking Machine Co. of Washington, D. C.

Foundet March 18, 1904 in Washington D. C.

The first Time Marking Machine Co. Contract

The Time Marking Machine Co. was established only three and a half months before the effective date of the contract from July 1, 1904 to June 30, 1905, and yet was awarded a contract for 50 "Automatic" machines at a rental rate of $300 per machine per year. First Assistant Postmaster General Howley advised on October 10, 1904, that none of these machines had been installed at that time. The same was true of the 20 Geary National automatic machines that had been authorized in the 1904 contract.

B. F. Cummins Co.

This brings us to an appropriate point to introduce the other company in our story, The B. F. Cummins Co.
The Hill Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1887. On June 6, 1889, the directors of the Hill Manufacturing Company decided to change the name of the company to B. F. Cummins Co.

Die Time Marking Machine Co. of Illinois

On June 15, 1909, this company was founded in Illinois. Not only did it bear the same name of the company in Washington, Wash, but the shareholders at the time of incorporation were the same. The B. F. Cummins Co. acquired shares in the new Time Marking Machine Co. of Illinois. This, and the business that resulted from it, is probably the basis of the short name "Time-Cummins."

The contract of the Time Marking Machine Co. with the B. F. Cummins Co.

The Time Marking Machine Co. machines in use under the contract from 1910 to 1913 were maintained by the B. F. Cummins Co., but were still the property of the manufacturers. They were the last Time Marking Machine Co. machines that were in service. No further bids were accepted.
Thus, there appears to have been no further business for the Time Marking Machine Co. of Illinois and the company was involuntarily dissolved on March 16, 1921.

The B.F. Cummins Co. postmarking Machines

Around 1910, by an employee, in cooperation with others, both inside and outside the Chicago Post Office, patented two "Postmarking Machines," which were important inventions for the B. F. Cummins Co.

. It was common at that time to rely not only on possible leases, but pretty much every manufacturer drove overland to small post offices with their own postmasters and tried to sell them their machines to them, because the Postmaster General's lease contracts covered far too few machines for the entire U.S.

. Another very remarkable fact is that the machines for which contracts were first made in 1907 continued to use them until about 1912, when they were working properly, could automatically print the exact time in the CDS, which was at times such as 9:03 AM and 10:07 PM instead of the 9 AM, 10 AM, etc.

The End of the B. F. Cummins Co.

The B.F. Cummins Co. was to receive no further orders for stamping machines after 1920. However, it continued to sell the machines of Model No. 2 to postmasters around the country and managed to place a few machines overseas (Table 1).

Benjamin Franklin Cummins died on October 7, 1941, at the age of 85.

The Cummins Perforator Company was dissolved by voluntary stockholder approval on July 29, 1944.

Explanation of the designation of the Postmarks (e.g. A-102), according to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz, Morris, Koontz:

The letter(s) denotes the type of CDS (Circular Date Stamp) - the number denotes the type of killer. The letters in the killer are usually "service letters", the numbers usually the number of the machine at post offices with several machines.

Source reference:
A Collctor’s Guide to U.S. Machine Postmarks 1871 – 1925, R. F. Hanmer
The Time Marking Machine Co. and the B. F. Cummins Co., L. Geschwindner, R. Morris, J. Koontz

References:
Machine Cancel Forum S. 837-868, 889-912, 929-948, 969-986, 1009 - 1024 , 1089-1166,1596 - 1599.

Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-104 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Feb. 11, 1908 at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, addressed to Dallas, Texas. Unclaimed there and returned to sender. With additional postmark "Not in City Directory No. 4." Furthermore, note the to-the-minute time in the postmark. A special feature only from machines of this company.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-102 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Dec. 02, 1907 at Elgin, Ills. and addressed to Canton, Ohio. Postmarked with minute time stamp.
Postage paid commercial postcard with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-102 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Oct. 29, 1907, at Evanston, Ill. and addressed to Evanston (City). Postmarked with machine number 1 with time stamped to the minute.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-104 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Jan. 10, 1911, at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, addressed to Everett, Wash. Forwarded to Vancouver, B. C., Canada. Unclaimed there and returned to sender. With additional postmark of Vancouver. Furthermore, note the time to the minute in the postmark.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-105 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked July 30, 1910 at Chicago, Ill. with machine number 5. Addressed to Chicago, Ill. (City).
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-105S to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Aug. 20, 1910, at Chicago, Ill. with machine number 3. Addressed to Montclair, N.J.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number A-105S to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked May. 13, 1912, at Chicago, Ill. with machine number 5. Addressed to Rochester, N.Y.
Postage paid commercial postcard with Time-Cummins Machine postmark number B-111 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked July 6, 1908 at Chicago, Ill. and addressed to Rockford, Ill.
Postage paid commercial postcard with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number C-111 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Dec. 24, 1909, at Chicago, Ill. with machine number 3. Addressed to Bellfort, N.Y.
Postage paid commercial cover to foreign countries with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number C-113 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Sept. 29, 1909 in Chicago, Ill. and addressed to Heidelberg, Germany. Postmarked with machine number 18. Note again the to-the-minute time in the postmark.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number C-114 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Nov. 27, 1909 at Chicago, Ill. and addressed to Chicago, Ill. Postmarked with machine number 5.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number D-104 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Dec. 04, 1912 at Minneapolis, Minn. and addressed to Barre, Mass.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number F-131 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked at Barre, Mass. on May. 09, 1912, addressed to Rochester, N.Y. With further postmark "DEFICINCY/IN/ADDRESS/SUPPLIED/BY/ROCHESTER N. Y. P. O." from Rochester, N.Y.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number F-131 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked 03 Jan 1930 at WESTPARIS, MAINE, addressed to Naill Autumn, Maine.
Postage paid commercial cover with Time-Cummins Machine Postmark number H-131 to Geschwindner, Morris, Koontz. Postmarked Sept. 21, 1925, at Mohonk Lake, N.Y. This postmark is known from only two locations, Mohonk Lake, N.Y. and Stevensville, N.Y., and is a rare postmark.
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