United States Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/sandbox3
everal dozen companies have manufactured and or sold postage meters in the U.S. Most did not last long either going out of business or being acquired by larger companies. By the early 2000s only four meter manufacturers, Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Hasler, and Francotyp-Postalia played large roles in the U.S. postage meter market. Several new companies entered the market in the 2000s and 2010s but only one, Data-Pac, was a manufacturer of hardware postage meters, the others providing online (PC) franking services only.
- The chart below gives the timeline of companies that produced at least one meter that was used to frank mail in the United States. Beneath the chart are brief descriptions of the companies.
1. Di Brazza, Italy, 1897.
- Count Detalmo di Brazza Savorgnan of Rome, Italy received patents on 30 June and 28 July 1896 for a "coin-freed letter posting or stamping machine". Three and perhaps four di Brazza self-service machines were on public trial in New York City for several months during 1897.
2. Pitney Postal Machine Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1902 to 1912.
- Organized by Arthur H. Pitney and Ernest H. Rummler. One machine was trialed during the week of 9 May 1912 at the offices of the National Tribune newspaper.
3. American Postage Meter Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1912 to 1920.
- Reorganization and name change of 2. Eight meters were trialed in Chicago, Illinois from November 1913 to 28 May 1914. Postal officials liked the machine but were reluctant to approve it due to security concerns.
4. Pitney Bowes Postage Meter Company, Stamford, Connecticut, 23 April 1920 to present. Stamford, Connecticut.
- The company was formed from a merger of the American Postage Meter Company 3 with Walter Bowes' Universal Stamping Machine Company at the suggestion of postal authorities. The combined technology allowed for the first postage meter design postal authorities were satisfied with. In its early years the company operated under the name of The Postage Meter Company. In 1940 the company name was changed to Pitney-Bowes and later to Pitney Bowes with no hyphen.
5. Mail-O-Meter Company, Detroit, Michigan, 1922 to 1924.
- A manufacturer of coil stamp vending machines, Mail-O-Meter began building postage meters in 1922. The quality was so poor that postal officials encouraged Pitney Bowes 4 to buy them out which they did in 1924.
6. International Postal Supply, Brooklyn, New York, 1922 to 1959.
- A successful manufacturer of stamp canceling machines International began making postage meters in 1922. They were one of Pitney Bowes's more successful competitors. In 1959 they were acquired by Friden 18.
7. Mack Postograph Company, Los Angeles, California, 1922 to 1928.
- A small company founded by inventor Luther Mack, it stayed in business long enough to be acquired by the Continental Postage Meter Company 9 in 1928.
8. Universal Postal Frankers, England, 1927.
- One machine was imported by Pitney Bowes 4 for trials in 1927. Pitney Bowes designed new meter models based on the technology in that machine. Universal Postal Frankers tried earlier on their own to enter the U.S. meter market but without success.
9. Continental Postage Meter Company, Los Angeles, California, and New York, New York, 1928 to 1931.
- Successor to Mack Postograph 7. The company was acquired by the Gold Seal Electric Company in 1930 and moved to New York but kept the name "Continental". In 1931 the name was changed to United States Postage Meter Company 12.
10. Whitlock Metered Mail Company, Los Angeles, California, 1929 to 1933.
- Acquired by the National Postal Meter Company 14 in 1933.
11. National Cash Register Company, Dayton, Ohio, 1930 to mid 1960s.
- Postage meters were a relatively small sideline of the NCR cash register company. They stopped producing postage meters in the mid 1960s. In 1974 they experimented with a digital postage system through their subsidiary Electronic Communications Inc 22.
12. United States Postage Meter Company, 1931 to 1944. New York, New York.
- Acquired by the Commercial Controls Corporation 16 in 1944.
13. Multipost Corporation, 1933 to 1942. Rochester, New York.
- Producing only two postage meters just to prove that they could do it, this stamp affixing machine company sold their small postage meter division to the National Postal Meter Company 14 in 1942.
14. National Postal Meter Company, 1933 to 1944. Rochester, New York.
- The company acquired Whitlock 10 in 1933 and moved the operations from Los Angeles to Rochester. They acquired Multipost 13 in 1944 and at that time changed the company name to Commercial Controls Corporation 16.
15. International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, 1935 to ca. 1945. Armonk, New York.
- IBM built five machines that were trialed in Post Offices starting in 1935. Nothing developed from of the trials, and the company sold their postage meter operations to the newly formed Commercial Controls Corporation 16 in 1945.
16. Commercial Controls Corporation, 1944 to 1959. Rochester, New York.
- This company was a merger of United States Postage Meter 12, Multiost 13 and the postage meter operations of IBM 15. It was acquired by Friden 18 in 1959.
17. Postalia Corporation, 1960 to 1970. Germany.
- Postalia meters were distributed in the U.S. by the Tele-Norm Corporation. The company was acquired in 1970 by Anker-Werke (ADS Postalia) 19.
18. Friden, 1963 to 1972. San Leandro, California.
- The company acquired Commercial Controls 16 in 1959 and continued to market the meters under the old brand. In 1963 they released new meter models under the Friden brand. The company was acquired by Singer 20 in 1972.
19. Anker-Werke (ADS Postalia), 1970 to 1993. Germany.
- Anker-Werke acquired Postalia 17 in 1970 and marketed the machines under the name ADS Postalia. The company was acquired by Francotyp in 1993 and changed its name to Francotyp-Postalia 31.
20. Singer (FME), early 1970s. San Leandro, California.
- Singer acquired Friden 18 and marketed the meters under the brand FME Singer. The company was changed its name to Friden Alcatel 23 in 1979 after other acquisitions.
21. Design and Development (subsidiary of Booz, Allen, Hamilton Corporation), 1973. McLean, Virginia.
- One self-service parcel franking kiosk was trialed for a month in 1973.
22. Electronic Communications Inc (ECI, a subsidiary of NCR), 1974 to the 1990s. Flushing, New York.
- NCR fielded digital franking system in post offices throughout Flushing New York starting in 1974. Although the machines were not approved for expanded use the postal clerks liked them and continued to use them long after the USPS contract expired.
23. Alcatel, 1979 to 1986. Germany.
- The Alcatel Corporation acquired Singer 20 in 1979 and distributed the meters in the US under the name Friden Alcatel. The company was later acquired by Neopost 27 in 1986.
24. Hasler, 1982 to present. Switzerland.
- Hasler of Switzerland entered the U.S. market through distributors LEO Hasler and later ASCOM Hasler.
25. Frama, 1984 to 1985. Switzerland.
- Thirty-nine digital machines imported by 23 were trialed in five post offices for six months between August 1984 and February 1985.
26. Intermec (a subsidiary of Honeywell, 1985 to 1993. Everett, Massachusetts.
- A group of dozens of digital machines were trialed in post offices in nine cities for several years.
27. Neopost, 1986 to present. France.
- Neopost entered the U.S. market by acquiring 23 in 1986.
28. MOS Corporation/USISYS, 1992 to 2014. Blue Bell, Virginia.
- MOS/UNISYS provided the franking system used in all U.S. post offices from 1992 to 2014.
29. Pi Electronics, 1992 to 1993. Houston, Texas.
- This small company built self-service shipping services kiosks that included Hasler postage meters. They were installed at several locations in five cities.
30. Automated Shipping Machine (ASM Services), 1992 to 1993. Tampa, Florida.
- This is another small company that built self-service shipping services kiosks that included Hasler postage meters. Only seven kiosks were fielded, mostly in supermarkets.
31. Francotyp-Postalia, 1993 to present. Germany.
- In 1993 the large German meter company Francotyp purchased ADS Postalia 19 from Anker-Werke.
32. E-Stamp, 1998 to 2001. Palo Alto, California.
- This was the first internet (PC) stamp company. It was acquired by 33 in 2001.
33. Stamps.com, 1999 to present. El Segundo, California.
- The company started in 1998 under the name of StampMaster but changed its name after getting US Postal Service approval to sell internet stamps.
34. Endicia (Envelope Manager Software), 2001 to 2015. Palo Alto, California.
- Acquired by 33 in 2015.
35. Data-Pac, 2006 to present. Webster, New York.
- A new entry into the hardware commercial postage meter market.
36. EasyPost, 2012 to present. San Francisco, California.
- A new entry into the online (PC) postage market.
37. Toshiba, 2014 to present. Japan.
- Toshiba's digital franking system replaced the MOS/UNISYS 28 system in post offices throughout the country starting in 2014.
In addition to the companies named above several others received patents for postage meters or submitted machines for consideration that were declined by the postal service. They are: