U.S. Postage Stamp
Line Perforation Gauge Measurements

© 2017 Julian J. Goldberg

Line Perforating Machines (Perforators)

The first rotary perforator was invented by William and Henry Bemrose of William Bemrose & Sons, Derby, Derbyshire, England, U.K. with U.K. patent number 2607 of 1854 (Reference: Early American Perforating Machines and Perforations 1857-1867, Winthrop S. Boggs, The Collectors Club, Inc., September 1954, Pages 2 to 10) [See small perforating wheel size (c)]. They supplied their perforator to Toppan, Carpenter & Company.

The George C. Howard Company, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. made rotary small wheel perforators with U.S. patent number 32,370 of 1861 (Reference: The 3c. ’51-’57 Chronicle, “Early American Perforating Machines”, Edgar H. Kent, Tracy W. Simpson, July 24, 1954, Issue Number 20, Volume 7, Number 2, Page 2) [See small perforating wheel sizes (a) and (c)]. They supplied their perforators to Toppan, Carpenter & Company, to the Continental Bank Note Company, to the American Bank Note Company and to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The National Bank Note Company, New York, NY, U.S.A. made rotary large wheel perforators (Reference: Early American Perforating Machines and Perforations 1857-1867, Winthrop S. Boggs, The Collectors Club, Inc., September 1954, Pages 19 to 20, 27 to 28) [See large perforating wheel sizes (e) and (f)]. They supplied their perforators to themselves.

The Universal Telegraphic Company, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A. made rotary small wheel perforators (Reference: The United States Postage Stamps Of The 20th Century 1901-1922, Volume 1 (Revised Edition), Max G. Johl, March 1937, H.L. Lindquist, Page 149) [See small perforating wheel sizes (a), (b) and (c)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The American Bank Note Company, New York, NY, U.S.A. made rotary small wheel perforators with U.S. patent number 1,120,753 of 1914 [See small perforating wheel sizes (a) and (c)]. They supplied themselves with their own perforators.

The manufacturer of Pony rotary large wheel perforators was the Frederick Peter Rosback Company, Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.A. with U.S. patent number 1,127,092 of 1915 [See large perforating wheel sizes (g) and (h)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The manufacturer of rotary small wheel L-perforators was John McAdams & Sons, Inc., Norwalk, CT, U.S.A. (Reference: The Norwalk Hour Special Edition, “A Brief History of John McAdams & Sons, Inc.”, August 12, 1958, Page 15) [See small perforating wheel size (a)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and to the American Bank Note Company.

The manufacturer of rotary short bar perforators was the Potter Printing Press Company, Plainfield, NJ, U.S.A. (Reference: Congressional Record Set: 63rd Congress December 7– March 4, 1915, “Travel Expenses, Government Employees, in the interest of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, fiscal year 1914”, B.R. Stickney, mechanical expert and designer) [See short perforating bar sizes (i) and (j)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The manufacturer of long bar and small wheel perforators was the Crown Cork & Seal Company, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A. (Reference: Stamp Perforations with Particular Emphasis on Canadian Stamps, Richard A. Johnson, British North American Philatelic Society (BNAPS), 2009, Pages 62, 65) [See small perforating wheel size (a); See long perforating bar sizes (k), (l) and (n)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing modified some of these perforators into experimental electric eye perforators.

The manufacturer of electric eye long bar and large wheel perforators was the Harris-Seybold Company, Cleveland, OH, U.S.A. (Reference: The Collectors Club Philatelist, “United States: Modern [1940s] Perforating Machines”, J.M. Kohler, July1960, Page 187) [See large perforating wheel size (d); See long perforating bar sizes (k), (l), and (n)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The manufacturer of Huck coiler perforators was the Huck Company of New York, NY, U.S.A. (Reference: Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting, Rodney A. Juell, Steven J. Rod, United States Stamp Society (USSS), 2006, Pages 383, 511 to 512). [See long perforating bar size (m)]. They supplied their perforators to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Bemrose Perforator

Howard Perforator

National Bank Note Perforator


Universal Telegraphic Perforator

American Bank Note Perforator

McAdams Perforator


Rosback (Rotary) Perforator

Crown Cork & Seal Bar and Wheel Perforator

Harris-Seybold Perforator

Rotary Perforating Wheels

The United States Specialist Perforation Gauge was made by Richard A. Kiusalas and it has been used to measure and compare early U.S. stamp perforations. See rotary perforating wheel chart below. Perforators with rotary perforating wheels were used to perforate sheet-fed Hoe flat plate press printed sheet, booklet and coil stamps. Perforators with rotary perforating wheels were also used to perforate sheet-fed Giori rotary press printed sheet stamps, Stickney rotary press printed coil and sheet waste stamps. Perforators with a combination of rotary perforating wheels and rotary perforating bars were used to perforate web-fed Stickney and Huck-Cottrell rotary press printed sheet and booklet stamps. Stamps perforated by rotary perforating wheels mostly do not have an exact alignment correspondence between perforations in different rows since they were perforated by several separate moving different perforating wheels.

Kiusalas gauge’s thousandths of an inch between
perforating pins or holes

Philatelic equivalent
gauge
measurement per two
centimeters

Number of pins

or holes

on   
perforating wheels

Philatelic equivalent gauge
measurement per two
centimeters

Perforating wheel size

diameter and circumference

Reference

95.5

(0.0955”)

8.25

134

8.27

(a) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/16″ (4.0625″) diameter and a

12.763″ (12 3/4″?) circumference

(1910-1913)

1, 2

95

(0.095”)

8.29

134

8.30

(b) small perforating wheels with a

4 3/64″ (4.046875″) diameter and a

12.714″ (12 5/7″?) circumference

(1910-1913)

2

94.5

(0.0945”)

8.33

134

8.33

(c) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/32″ (4.03125″) diameter and a

12.665″ (12 2/3″?) circumference

(1910-1913)

2, 3

79.75

(0.07975”)

9.87

160

9.87

(a) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/16″ (4.0625″) diameter and a

12.763″ (12 3/4″?) circumference [found together with long bar Kiusalas 80-9.84 and Kiusalas

81-9.72] (1921-1926)

1, 2, 4

79.5

(0.0795”)

9.90

160

9.91

(b) small perforating wheels with a

4 3/64″ (4.046875″) diameter and a

12.714″ (12 5/7″?) circumference

(1913-1917)

2, 7

79

(0.079”)

9.97

160

9.95

(c) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/32″ (4.03125″) diameter and a

12.665″ (12 2/3″?) circumference

(1913-1917)

2, 3, 5

75

(0.075”)

10.50

170

10.49

(a) small perforating wheels with a

 4 1/16″ (4.0625″) diameter and

a 12.763″ (12 3/4″?) circumference [found together with long bar Kiusalas 70-11.25 and

Kiusalas 71-11.09] (1926-1939)

1, 2, 4

75

(0.075”)

10.50

415

10.50

(d) large perforating wheels with a

9 29/32″ (9.90625″) diameter and a

31.121″ (31 1/8″?) circumference [found together with long bar Kiusalas 70-11.25 and

Kiusalas 71-11.09] (1939-1985)

6

73

(0.073”)

10.79

175

10.80

(a) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/16″ (4.0625″) diameter and a 12.763″ (12 3/4″?) circumference

(1920) [see Kiusalas

72.5-10.86 below] 

7

72.5

(0.0725”)

10.86

176

10.86

(a) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/16″ (4.0625″) diameter and a 12.763″ (12 3/4″?) circumference

[found together with long bar Kiusalas 80-9.84 and Kiusalas

81-9.72] (1915, 1917-1994)

1, 2, 4, 7, 8

72.25

(0.07225”)

10.90

176

10.90

(b) small perforating wheels with a

4 3/64″ (4.046875″) diameter and a

12.714″ (12 5/7″?) circumference

(1915, 1917-1957)

2

72

(0.072”)

10.94

176

10.94

(c) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/32″ (4.03125″) diameter and a

12.665″ (12 2/3″?) circumference

(1915, 1917-1957)

1, 2, 3

66.5

(0.0665”)

11.84

192

11.85

(a) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/16″ (4.0625″) diameter and a

12.763″ (12 3/4″?) circumference

(1873-1914, 1943-1979)

1, 2, 9

66.5

(0.0665”)

11.84

576

11.85

(e) large perforating wheels with a

12 3/16″ (12.1875″) diameter and a

38.288″ (38 1/4″?) circumference

[3 x (a) above] (1861-1873)

2, 9

66.25

(0.06625”)

11.89

192

11.89

(b) small perforating wheels with a

4 3/64″ (4.046875″) diameter and a

12.714″ (12 5/7″?) circumference

(1910-1914)

2

66

(0.066”)

11.93

192

11.94

(c) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/32″ (4.03125″) diameter and a

12.665″ (12 2/3″?) circumference

(1873-1914, 1943-1979)

2, 3, 9

66

(0.066”)

11.93

576

11.94

(f) large perforating wheels with a

12 3/32″ (12.09375″) diameter and a 37.994″ (38″?) circumference

[3 x (c) above] (1861-1873)

2, 9

63

(0.063”)

12.50

500

12.49

(g) large perforating wheels with a

10 1/32″ (10.03125″) diameter and a 31.514″ (31 1/2″?) circumference (1919)

10

62.75

(0.06275”)

12.55

500

12.53

(h) large perforating wheel

with a 10″ (10.00″) diameter

and a 31.416″ (31 52/125″?) circumference (1919)

10 

51

(0.051”)

15.44

248

15.42

(c) small perforating wheels with a

4 1/32″ (4.03125″) diameter and a

12.665″ (12 2/3″?) circumference

(1857-1861)

2, 11


Kiusalas Gauge

Potter Printing Press Bar Perforator

Rosback (Stroke) Perforator



Rotary Perforating Bars

The United States Specialist Perforation Gauge was made by Richard A. Kiusalas and it has been used to measure and compare early U.S. stamp perforations. See rotary perforating bar chart below. Perforators with rotary perforating bars were used to perforate web-fed Stickney and Huck-Cottrell rotary press printed coil stamps. Perforators with a combination of rotary perforating bars and rotary perforating wheels were used to perforate web-fed Stickney and Huck-Cottrell rotary press printed sheet and booklet stamps. Stamps perforated by rotary perforating bars mostly do have an exact alignment correspondence between perforations in different rows since they were perforated by several separate perforating bars mounted on the same one moving cylinder.

Kiusalas gauge’s thousandths of an inch between
perforating pins or holes

Philatelic equivalent
gauge
measurement per two
centimeters

Number of pins
or holes

on 
perforating bars

Philatelic equivalent gauge
measurement per two
centimeters

Perforating bar size length

with pins or holes along it

Reference

95

(0.095”)

8.29

91

8.29

(i) perforating bars with a

short perforating length of

8 41/64″ (8.640625″)

[1/2 x (l) below] (1910-1913)

12

81

(0.081”)

9.72

108

9.72

(j) perforating bars with a short perforating length of 8 3/4″ (8.75″) [1/2 x (k) below] (1915)

8

81

(0.081”)

9.72

216

9.72

(k) perforating bars with a long perforating length of 17 1/2″ (17.5″) [2 x (j) above] [found together with Kiusalas 72.5-10.86 and Kiusalas 79.75-9.87] (1921)

8

80

(0.080”)

9.84

108

9.84

(i) perforating bars with a short perforating length of 8 41/64″ (8.640625″) [1/2 x (l) below] [large holes, (small holes)] (1914-1958)

12

80

(0.080”)

9.84

216

9.84

(l) perforating bars with a

long perforating length

of 17 9/32″ (17.28125″)

[2 x (i) above] [found together with Kiusalas 72.5-10.86 and Kiusalas 79.75-9.87] [large holes] (1920-1926)

4, 6

80

(0.080”)

9.84

216

9.84

(m) perforating bars with a long perforating length of

17 9/32” (17.28125″)

[2 x (i) above] [small holes] (1958-1985)  

13

71

(0.071”)

11.09

247

11.09

(n) perforating bars with a long perforating length of 17 17/32″ (17.53125″) [found together with small wheel Kiusalas 75-10.50] (1926-1939)

6

70

(0.070”)

11.25

247

11.25

(l) perforating bars with a

 long perforating length of

17 9/32″ (17.28125″)

[2 x (i) above] [found together with small and large wheel

Kiusalas 75-10.50] (1926-1985)

1, 4, 6

67

(0.067”)

11.75

125

11.75

(o) Rosback stroke perforator with one long length of 8 3/8″ (8.375″) with 125 pins or holes and three short lengths of 1 27/40″ (1.675″) with 25 pins or holes [U.S. patent 1,125,723

of 1915] (1914-1958)

14

References

[1] Stamps, “Perforation Spacing on the 1908-19 Issue”, November 23, 1935, Page 310.

[2] The Collectors Club Philatelist, "Perforation Gauge 12 Used on U.S. Washington-Franklin (Third Bureau Issue) Stamps", Julian J. Goldberg, Volume 93, Number 6, Nov.-Dec. 2014, Page 368.

[3] The Philatelic Gazette, “Fake Perforations”, J.B. Leavy, May 1918, Page 154.

[4] The United States Specialist, “The Stickney Rotary 11 x 10-1/2 Bar and Wheel Perforator”, Louis E. Repeta, Whole Number 756, Volume 63, Number 4, April 1992, Page 168.

[5] The United States Postage Stamps Of The 20th Century 1901-1922, Volume 1 (Revised Edition), Max G. Johl, March 1937, H.L. Lindquist, Page 149.

[6] The Collectors Club Philatelist, “United States: Modern [1940s] Perforating Machines”, J.M. Kohler, July 1960, Pages 188, 207.

[7] The United States Specialist, “Perforation Measurement and Scott # 544”, Larry S. Weiss, Whole Number 680, Volume 57, Number 10, October 1986, Pages 448 to 449.

[8] The United States Specialist, “Specialist Gauge Measurements”, Larry S. Weiss, Whole Number 710, Volume 60, Number 4, April 1989, Pages 207 to 209.

[9] Early American Perforating Machines and Perforations 1857-1867, Winthrop S. Boggs, The Collectors Club Inc., September 1954, Pages 19 to 20, 27 to 28.

[10] The American Philatelist, “United States Stamps: APS Acquires Rosback Rotary Perforator”, Ken Lawrence, September 1995, Volume 109, Number 9, Pages 824 to 826.

[11] Early American Perforating Machines and Perforations 1857-1867, Winthrop S. Boggs, The Collectors Club, Inc., September 1954, Pages 2 to 10.

[12] U.S. Stamp News, “The Stickney Coil Perforator”, Louis E. Repeta, October 2007, Volume 13, Issue 10, Pages 16 to 17. [13] Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting, Rodney A. Juell, Steven J. Rod, United States Stamp Society (USSS), 2006, Pages 511 to 512.

[14] The American Revenuer, “In Search of the Bureau Perforated Series of 1934 Red Bottle Stamps”, Ronald E. Lesher, November-December 2006, Volume 60, Number 6, Pages 173 to 175.