1915 $1 Franklin
Issue Date: February 8, 1915
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: Double line
Color: Violet black
Stamp Vending Machines
The history of stamp vending machines actually goes back to the mid-1880s when an English woman, Victoria Bundsen, invented a stamp-affixing device. On April 19, 1884, she was granted a British patent. She also applied for a patent in the United States, which was awarded on July 21, 1885. The hand-held plunger she developed is basically still in use today, with a few minor modifications.
Her invention used a stack of single, separated stamps placed in a small box at the end of the plunger. By pushing the plunger down, a moistener was applied to the envelope. As the stamp came in contact with the moistened envelope, it naturally adhered.
Numerous others from England, Germany, and the United States developed similar devices, but the first one to use stamps in a “ribbon” or “coil” (long strips of single stamps) form was an invention by William Miller of Polo, Illinois. He was granted a patent on January 29, 1889. His machine was unique in the fact that it actually used a roll of coiled stamps, rather than just a strip of ten. A knife would sever the stamp along the perforations. The stamp was then applied to an envelope by a plunger, similar to the stamp-affixing device.