United States Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/Adhesive paper tapes

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Adhesive paper tapes[edit]

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  • A postage meter can print a stamp only on whatever is lying on the plate beneath the print head. There is only enough space for something thin, an envelope or a card for example. The need to frank parcels and other large items motivated meter companies to offer attachments that would feed adhesive tape onto the plate so it could be franked and affixed to parcels.
  • The earliest meter stamps on gummed labels were experimental and came from sheets of perforated brown paper rather than rolls of tape. The sheets were hand-fed one at a time by the meter operator. The sheets came in pads prepared by Pitney Bowes in 1929. They were used by a small number of mailers for about a year until the first adhesive tape feeder attachments became available in 1930. Tapes made for these mechanized feeders had an underprint. Decades later, after-market companies began offering rolls of adhesive paper tape for these feeders. These tapes do not have underprints and are not cataloged here. Since the advent of digital postage meters nearly all meter tapes found are without underprint. Perhaps the meter companies have abandoned the adhesive tape market to office supply companies.
USA oval meter stamp on tape.jpeg
  • A very small number of oval meter stamps (Sub-group CA) exist printed on tape. The one pictured here may have come from the experimental brown sheets mentioned above and described as Type A below, but the size of the label is nonconforming. It is possible mailers under their own initiative hand fed adhesive-backed paper into Model M meters (ovals) as a way to get stamps they could affix to packages, but more likely these oddities are the products of imaginative and creative collectors. Regardless, the first meters offered with an adhesive tape feeder option are from the Pitney Bowes Model H line (Sub-group DB).

NOTE: The color illustrations of tapes in this section all have digitally enhanced color and contrast. Most of these underprints are too faint to reproduce under normal conditions.



Type A: Pitney Bowes experimental tape, no underprint[edit]


USA meter stamp tape A with stub.jpeg

A1. Plain brown gummed paper

  • These labels came from 8½ by 11 inch pads. Sheets from the pad were hand-fed into the meter rather than fed from mechanical tape feeders. This was an experiment carried out by Pitney Bowes in 1929-1930 and was abandoned after the first tape feeding mechanisms came to the market in late 1930 for users of their Model H line of meters.
  • Each sheet in the pad was divided by horizontal rows of perforations into two inch tall strips. The bottom strip had a stub along the bottom which was usually discarded. This stub contained printed directions for how to use the sheets.
  • The top strip of the sheet had a straight edge at top. All the others had perforations at both top and bottom. The sheets apparently had a long narrow tab at left separated from the rest of the sheet by perforations. Some labels are found with perforations at left although most have the excess paper at left scissored off leaving a straight edge.
  • It is likely that two different sheet formats were used, the first as described above and the second narrower than 8½ inches across which would be used for strips with frankings of three or fewer stamps. The wider labels were for franking of four or more stamps according to the directions on the stub of the label in the illustration above.
  • All these experimental labels are quite rare. Nearly all examples known are loose sheets. Pictured below is the only example known on piece.

NOTE: Oddities exist. They include a label with straight line edges on all four sides. It has an early date (October 24, 1929) and may have been from a preliminary, pre-pad experiment.

USA meter stamp tape A on piece.jpeg














Type B: Pitney Bowes tape, "METERED MAIL" underprint[edit]

  • This is the earliest tape design made for use in mechanical tape feeding attachments.
  • The underprint consists of "METERED MAIL" inside ellipses connected by vertical wavy lines.
  • The tape edges are serrated on all four sides.
First seen in 1930-1931.




USA meter stamp tape B1.jpeg

B1. The lines connecting the ellipses slant from upper right to lower left.

The center "v" of the "M"s in METERED MAIL go only half way to the bottom of the letter.
A. Ellipses 23 x 10mm
B. Ellipses 25 x 11mm
Tape height: 32mm
Underprint color: shades of green (apple-, yellow-, olive-)
Paper color: yellowish







USA meter stamp tape B2.jpeg

B2. As B1 but the lines connecting the ellipses curve left and right in alternating columns.

Ellipses 24 x 9mm
A. Tape height 32mm
B. Tape height 36mm
Underprint colors: pale pink, pale gray, pale green (hard to see)
Paper colors: white, off-white, yellowish
a. Tape with straight instead of serrated edges








USA meter stamp tape B3.jpeg

B3. As B1 but the lines connecting the ellipses are closer together and have more curves.

Ellipses 21 x 9mm
A. Tape height 32mm
B. Tape height 36mm
Underprint colors are vivid: bright pink, bright green
Paper colors: white, off-white, yellowish
USA meter stamp tape B3AB.jpg













USA meter stamp tape B4.jpeg

B4. The center "v" of the "M"s in METERED MAIL go all the way to the bottom of the letter.

The lines connecting the ellipses are straight in parts and slightly curved in others.
Ellipses 24½ x 10mm
Line weight medium.
Tape height 32mm
Underprint color: very pale gray (hard to see)
Paper color: white








USA meter stamp tape B5.jpeg

B5. As B4 but the lines connecting the ellipses are very thick.

Ellipses 24 x 9mm
Tape height 32mm
Underprint colors: light pink, very pale gray (hard to see)
Paper color: white, off-white










Type C: Pitney Bowes tape, "Pitney-Bowes" underprint[edit]

  • This tape design came into use in the early 1940s.
  • The underprint consists of "Pitney-Bowes" or "PitneyBowes" alternating with the company's logo except for Type C5 which shows only the logo.



USA meter stamp tape C1.jpeg

C1. "Pitney-Bowes" and vertical oval logo in staggered rows.

"Pitney-Bowes" is large, 42mm wide, in a font with serifs.
Tape height: 32mm
Tape edges serrated on all four sides
Underprint color: light pink (hard to see)
Paper color: white




USA meter stamp tape C2.jpeg

C2. As C1 but "Pitney-Bowes" and logo are smaller.

"Pitney-Bowes" is 31mm wide.
Tape height: 32mm
Tape edges: straight on all four sides, serrated on all four sides, serrated on sides and straight on top and bottom
Underprint color: light pink, light beige, light gray white (hard to see)
Paper color: white, off-white




USA meter stamp tape C3.jpeg

C3. As C2 but the alternating rows are inverted to each other.

"Pitney-Bowes" is slightly smaller than with C2, 30mm wide.
Tape height: 32mm
Tape edges: straight on all four sides, serrated on all four sides, serrated on sides and straight on top and bottom
Underprint color: light pink, light beige, light gray white (hard to see)
Paper color: white, off-white



USA meter stamp tape C4.jpeg

C4. "PitneyBowes" sanserif, with cross logo in staggered rows.

"Pitney-Bowes" in solid letters. The cross logo is 8mm square.
Tape height: 32mm
Tape edges: straight on all four sides, serrated on all four sides, serrated on sides and straight on top and bottom
Underprint color: light pink, light beige, light gray white
Paper color: white, off-white, salmon-pink
USA meter stamp tape C4 color.jpeg










USA meter stamp tape C5.jpeg

C5. Cross logo only.

The cross logo is large, 12mm square.
Tape height: 35mm
Tape edges: straight on top and bottom, serrated on the sides
Underprint color: grayish greene (hard to see)
Paper color: white



USA meter stamp tape C6.jpeg

C6. As C4 but "PitneyBowes" in outline letters.

The cross logo has a complete outer edge. The text and logo have shadows.
Tape height: 32mm
Tape edges: straight on all four sides, serrated on all four sides, serrated on sides and straight on top and bottom
Underprint color: light pink, light beige, light gray white (hard to see)
Paper color: white, off-white



USA meter stamp tape C7.jpeg

C7. As C4 but with much smaller logo and the alternating rows are inverted to each other.

Tape height: 40mm
Tape edges: straight on all four sides
Underprint color: grayish green (hard to see)
Paper color: white








Type D: National Postal Meter tape, "N.P.Mco." underprint[edit]



USA meter stamp tape D1.jpeg

D1. Two rows of "N.P.Mco." alternating horizontally with a block of five wavy lines.

The rows are staggered with wavy line block above and at the sides of "N.P.Mco."
The underprint is centered on the tape with some blank space both above and below.
"N.P.Mco." with stop after "Co."
Tape height: 37mm
Tape edges: straight at top and bottom, serrated on the sides
Underprint color: yellowish green
Paper color: buff to off-white




USA meter stamp tape D2.jpeg

D2. As D1 but the underprint continues to the edges of the tape.

"N.P.Mco" without stop after "Co" .
Tape height: 37mm
Tape edges: straight at top and bottom, serrated on the sides
Underprint color: green
Paper color: pale yellow
USA meter stamp tape D2 color.jpeg












Type E: Commercial Controls tape, "COMMERCIAL CONTROLS CORPORATION" underprint[edit]



USA meter stamp tape E1.jpeg

E1. Rectangles containing COMMERCIAL/ ONTROLS/ CORPORATION connected by wavy lines.

Tape height: 37mm
Tape edges: straight at top and bottom, serrated on the sides
Underprint color: yellowish green, green
Paper color: pale yellow, off-white
USA meter stamp tape E1 color.jpeg













Type F: Tele-Norm Postalia tape, "TN POSTALIA" underprint[edit]

USA meter stamp tape F1.jpeg

F1. Logo of overlapping diamonds containing superimposed letters "T" and "N" above "POSTALIA", the logos connected by wavy lines.

Tape height: 40mm
Tape edges: straight at top and bottom, serrated on the sides
Underprint color: pink (hard to see)
Paper color: white










Type G: Postalia tape, "POSTALIA POSTAGE METERS" underprint[edit]



USA meter stamp tape G1.jpeg

G1. Large "POSTALIA" above small "POSTAGE METERS", unframed in field of wavy lines.

Tape height: 36mm
Tape edges: straight edges on all sides
Underprint color: gray
Paper color: white




USA meter stamp tape G1 color.jpeg

G2. As G1 but "POSTALIA" above small "POSTAGE METER SYSTEMS".

Tape height: 36mm
Tape edges: straight edges on all sides
Underprint color: gray
Paper color: white









Type H: Friden tape, "Friden" underprint[edit]



USA meter stamp tape H1.jpeg

H1. "Friden" in rectangle with curved top or bottom connected by wavy lines.

"Friden" in a font with serifs.
Tape height: 37mm
Tape edges: straight at top and bottom, serrated on the sides
Underprint color: yellowish green
Paper color: pale yellow






USA meter stamp tape H2.jpeg

H2. "Friden" in font with serifs, in rows.

No curved lines or any other ornaments.
Tape height: 34mm
Tape edges: straight at all sides
Underprint color: grayish green
Paper color: white
USA meter stamp tape H2 color.jpeg











USA meter stamp tape H3.jpeg

H3. As H2 but "Friden" heavier in sanserif font.

Tape height: 38mm
Tape edges: straight at all sides
Underprint color: grayish green
Paper color: pale pink, white
USA meter stamp tape H3 color.jpeg













Type J: Singer tape, "SINGER" underprint[edit]

USA meter stamp tape J1.jpeg

J1. Similar to H3 but with "SINGER".

Tape height: 34mm
Tape edges: straight at all sides, straight at top and bottom and serrated at the sides
Underprint color: grayish green
Paper color: pale pink, white
USA meter stamp tape J1 color.jpeg













Type K: Hasler tape, "IMS" underprint[edit]

USA meter stamp tape K1.jpeg

K1. Logo of four stacked dashes next to "IMS." in stacked syncopated rows.

Tape height: 41mm
Tape edges: straight at all sides
Underprint color: pale blue
Paper color: white
USA meter stamp tape K1 color.JPG













Type L: Hasler tape, "ascomHasler" underprint[edit]



USA meter stamp tape L1.jpeg

L1. "ascomHasler" in stacked syncopated rows.

Tape height: 41mm
Tape edges: straight at all sides
Underprint color: pale blue
Paper color: white
USA meter stamp tape L1 color.jpeg










Image needed.jpg

L2. As L1 but "ASCOM" is capitalized.

Tape height: 41mm
Tape edges: straight at all sides
Underprint color: pale blue
Paper color: white