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Stamps (Philately)/perforation wheels


How many pins were on the perforation wheels in the 19th century, generally?I understand it may have changed. Corollary, does the same pin give the same angle of perforation each time or were the pins a bit loose so that they didnt repeat every time?

Hi Tom,

 I'm not sure it's ever been documented how many pins were on each wheel.  At least I don't ever recall seeing that info anywhere. Perfs are gauged  the number of holes (pins) in a space of 2 millimeters, but I have no idea how one could calculate the number of pins on a wheel. It seems to me that you would need to know the size of the wheel before a count could be made, and as I said, I've never seen that recorded. And you are right, depending on the gauge of the perfs, I would say that the number of pins varied as the gauge was changed.  In the 19th century, only two different gauges were used (what we now identify as gauge 15, and gauge 12).

 An occasional pin could be loose or bent, of course, which is why we sometimes see an out-of-line perf hole or some other abnormality.

 If you ever get a chance to examine an actual perforating machine, it is a very interesting visual experience.  There is a Rosback machine at the APS building in Bellfonte/PA so if you ever can visit there, be sure to check it out.


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William R. Weiss, Jr.


United States - Virtually any kind of stamp, cover, essay, proof, cancel, covers, etc.


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