The Milldean Press


1959 Waterlow Ultra Ticket Printing Machine
1959 Waterlow Ultra Ticket Printing Machine


The Milldean Press
A.B.N. 40 942 465 547

30 Barcelona Street Box Hill Victoria Australia 3128



The Milldean Press was started in 1961 as a ‘cottage industry’ to print simple and short runs for railfan and museum groups by printing from home in Hawthorn using an American Perfected Prowty Hand-Fed Platen press.
In 1976, after moving to Box Hill, this machine was replaced with a Chandler & Price New Style Hand-Fed Platen. When Dovers Typesetters closed in Melbourne a Model 48 Linotype machine was purchased with one magazine of type and a chair. Over the years we have added more type faces and now have over 80 different type faces in various styles and sizes. There are generally two type faces in each magazine, i.e. roman with italic, roman with bold. A 1961 Heidelberg Platen press was then purchased.
The first Edmondson Tickets printed were for the Sydney Tramway Museum. These were done on the C & P Platen — hand fed and treadled by foot. These original tickets were printed as two tickets on a 5 x 3 inch (125 x 75 mm) card and cut to size (30.5 x 57 mm) after printing. The background design would be printed; then the text and finally the tickets were numbered before cutting to the finished size.
In the mid eighties I obtained a quantity of ticket blanks of various colours from the Victorian Railways and set up the C.&P. hand fed platen so that I could print and number these tickets in one pass using type and one or two normal printer’s serif numbering machine boxes. I then invested in a pair of sans serif numbering boxes with a remote plunger.
In 1989 (with help from the Puffing Billy Preservation Society) I obtained the use of a 1959 Waterlow Ultra Ticket Printing machine from the Victorian Government Printer.
This machine was brought up to operating standard with the help of a retired ticket printer from the Victorian Government Printer and a retired ticket printer from the Victorian Railways’ printing works.
This machine started printing many thousands of Puffing Billy tickets on 17 July 1990.
In 1991 I constructed a 20 x 40 foot shed to house all the current and anticipated equipment. This was officially opened on 5 May 1991 with a suitable souvenir ticket.
The Puffing Billy Railway also obtained some surplus 1947 VR Bell & Valentine machines stored at Spotswood. They also purchased the last remaining B&V machines from the Railways’ Printing Works when the Works closed at the end of 1992.
The next purchase was a Harrild & Son guillotine. This made The Milldean Press self-sufficient and able to produce all work on-site.
Two 1959 Waterlow machines were transferred from the Railway Printer to the Government Printer until this establishment was broken up and sold. These two machines, together with two card slitting machines, were returned to the Public Transport Corporation and stored at Spotswood.
Eventually The Milldean Press was able to lease these Ticket Printing machines and the two slitters. This enables us to produce just about any design of ticket (except a Mones-Cross Patent ticket with pull-out advertisement.) This is one design that has not yet been attempted.
Some of these machines are at Box Hill and some are at Keith Atkinson’s home in Canterbury — the ‘Western Division’. One of the machines at Keith’s place is a 1910 Edmondson Ticket Printing Machine (No. 108) which Keith was able to arrange acquisition from the Tasmanian Government Railways. This machine took Keith many months to restore to its current operating condition. The machine had been neglected; and we suspect that it may have even been ‘fiddled’ with by the last operator before his departure from the TGR.
In 2001 I acquired four cabinets of Ludlow fonts and in 2002 I purchased a Ludlow typecasting machine and somehow managed to fit all these into The Shed
Currently I produce the hot metal type with the Model 48 Linotype and the Ludlow and slit the ticket card to size, whilst Keith does a lot of background colouring and a lot of the actual ticket printing.
In 1997, after using up most of the NSW card I had bought from Wembley Mill; I purchased 1 tonne of plain white card and 1 tonne of plain yellow card. Some of this card had designs printed on it. In 2001 I ordered another 2 tonne of white card to continue to fulfill ticket orders. A lot of this new card was coloured for stock before being slit to finished ticket size.
This slitting process consists of a primary slitting from the full size sheet (640 x 588 mm) into ten strips of 57 mm. These strips are then slit to 30.5 mm and the ticket size blank card is packed into boxes of approximately 10 400 for storage.
Thomas Edmondson (the inventor and, for many years, major producer of machinery for the production of the standard railway ticket) was born in Lancaster, UK, in 1792. In 1836 he joined the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway where he started thinking about improving the accounting and ticket fare collection. Thomas later worked for the Manchester and Leeds Railway and in 1841 he left to establish his own business to produce tickets and the machinery to print them, as well as dating presses, ticket racks, ticket nippers/ punches, etc. Thomas Edmondson died in 1891. The business was continued on by his son for many years


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