Henry Archer, an Irish businessman, presented
the British Government with an easy method for the separation of postage
stamps. I read recently on a web site biography about Sir Roland
Hill that he was not very flexible about further developments of the postage
stamp outside of the perimeters he set in his own scheme. However
true or false this comment is it took nearly a decade to get past the scissors
and tearing method of separation. Archer provided his plan onto the
Postmaster-General, and from there it passed through the British bureaucracy
and further experimentation, finally meeting with approval.
One point of interest is that the first offer they made was for £500.
He was indignant at this offer and finally settled for £5000.00.
Both of Henry Archer's early experiments with two rouletting machines were considered failures, but of one of the experiments, a few examples have survived. They are rouletted 11-1/2, but are generally referred to as gauge 12 roulette. Archer conducted his experiment with rouletting on stamps produced from Plate 70 and 71 in 1848. The above example is from plate 70.
Vertical Pair of the Archer roulette, Plate 70
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