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OBW Rolls: What can we learn from the earliest patents?

rmpsrpmsrmpsrpms Posts: 1,675 ✭✭✭✭
Some of the best info on the origins of OBW rolls comes from snippets in granted patents. Here's a passage from patent # 720070, applied for in June 1901 and issued July 1903:

"The object of my invention is to provide a compact, convenient, and efficient manner means for bunching together any preferred number of coins of a selected denomination and holding them in position whereby they may be very conveniently and expeditiously wrapped or covered with a paper jacket, as is common, so that the package of coin after thus being counted and disposed will be in convenient form for future use."

Batdorf's first patented machine is described in patent #691435. It was applied for in Oct 1901, and granted Jan 1902. There was no association with Auto Coin Wrapping Machine company, so I assume it did not exist at this point. Far as I can tell this is the seminal patent for auto wrapping machines. Here's a passage from this patent:

" The essential object of my invention is to provide a simple compact machine which will readily handle the accumulation of coins received from the now extensively-used slot machines or coin-actuated machines which vend articles or give information or some other return upon the deposit of a coin of pre-determined size or value into the machine.

The proper counting and handling of the large number of coins obtained from the source above indicated, as well as he accurate counting of coins paid into large department and other stores, banks, &c, is a heavy task and necessitates the employment of clerks or others for the purpose, and such persons, unless specially skilled in counting, often find it difficult to continue continue the counting for any great length of time without great fatigue, while errors are likely to arise because of a miscount. To meet the conditions above noted, and to facilitate the easy and accurate handling of coins and wrap the coins into packages convenient for commercial use, I have devised the present invention, which performs the entire labor automatically and in a very efficient and practical manner."

Batdorf updated the machine and filed new applications in Mar 1903 (becoming patent #751246 in Feb 1904) and in Jan 1904 (becoming patent #758733 in May 1904).

Broga filed his coin separating machine patent in Nov 1903, and it was granted as patent #793413 in Jun 1905. Here's a passage from this patent:

" This invention relates to coin separating, counting and wrapping machines, the object of the invention being to produce a machine of this character into the hopper of which a lot of mixed coins can be placed which by the operation of the machine will be automatically separated into their different denominations, counted, an packaged, each denomination by itself, suitable printing mechanism being associated with the packaging devices for each denomination whereby the value of each package may be indicated thereon."

So it seems the early justification for these sorting, counting and wrapping machines was not in distribution of new coins, but in the processing of the large quantity of coins coming in from the vending machines.

Broga updated his machine in an application filed Nov 1904, granted as patent #860960 Jul 1907. Here is a passage from that patent:

" This invention relates to counting and registering mechanism, and more especially to that class thereor whereby coins of various denominations may be counted to obtain the total value as indicated in dollars and cents shown in plain figures of an adding machine or register; and my invention is especially adapted for use in connection with a coin-sorting machine whereby each species is deposited in its own individual channel or pocket from which the coins are consecutively taken, one by one, counted off into stacks representing a certain monetary value, and finally delivered to a mechanism whereby each stack is wrapped in paper to form certified coin-rolls."

He goes on to describe the purpose of the machine to ease the sorting and counting of coins taken in by street-railway conductors.

All the above discuss sorting and wrapping, but none did the final job of crimping the ends of the roll. The first machine to do this was patented by Jennings, applied in Nov 1907 and granted patent #930291 in Aug 1909. It's titled "Coin-Wrapper". Here is a passage:

" The coins are first stacked in any appropriate manner and each stack so formed is then placed in a wrapping machine by means of which a band of paper is wrapped around the stack of coins and then the ends of the wrapped paper are folded down upon the ends of the stack in such a manner as to securely hold the wrapping against displacement with relation to the coins under ordinary handling."

This machine was the first that produced what we all might consider "OBW" rolls with crimped ends. All others before it did not appear to provide for crimping. But this machine was still not fully automatic, and required an operator to placed counted stacks of coins onto it for wrapping.

The first patent I can find that was assigned to the Automatic Coin-Wrapping Machine Company is patent #973335, applied Oct 1908 and granted Oct 1910. It was by Batdorf again, and he is now a principle (possibly a founder) of the company. This patent describes a stopping mechanism to keep from mis-wrapping. Another similar patent for an Agitator was filed by Batdorf in Dec 1909 and assigned patent #975202 in Nov 1910.

The next couple patents by Farrell (Jan 1911) and Altschul (Feb 1911) were variations on the theme of the day, and interestingly the Altschul patent describes gumming and sealing the ends of the roll.

Batdorf updated his patent portfolio with patent #998830, granted Jul 1911. An interesting passage reads:

" My invention relates to a certain new and useful machine adapted particularly for automatically advancing and assembling coins of predetermined sizes and values into a stack, bunch or column and then applying a paper wrapper to said bunch to thereby prepare the coins for the needs of the commercial world."

Hart, in patent #1038361 from Sep 1912, references 691435 and 751246 but adds the mechanism for crimping the roll ends. Like all the machines up to this point, his is still very manual, and hand-cranked.

Batdorf's most famous patent, assigned to the Automatic Coin-Wrapping Machine Company, is entitled "Paper-Tucking and Wrapping Mechanism". Application was filed in Apr 1910, and it was granted as patent #1130244 on Mar 2, 1915. This patent is cited on many rolls from the teens through the 1960's. A relevant passage from this patent reads:

" The object of the invention is the provision of means which shall insure the snug laying of the paper or wrapper around the article or articles to be wrapped, in order to produce a tightly and neatly rolled package."

Most of you will recognize these "Batdorf" rolls, which usually have a "V" shaped notch rather than a spiral, as being the tightest wrapped rolls around.

Batdorf updated his crimping mechanism in patent #1118097, filed Apr 1910 and granted Nov 1914. Most relevant passage is as follows:

" The invention is particularly concerned with means in combination with suitable wrapper applying mechanism for crimping or turning in the wrapper at the ends of the package in order that the wrapper may be securely held thereon in such manner that the package cannot be tampered with or opened without so mutilating the wrapper as to make it impossible to replace the same."

The first patent that shows what we would all recognize as an OBW roll is again from Batdorf, this time for Universal Coinwrapping Machine Company, patent #1073575 "Coin-Package Wrapper". This patent describes the first machine to roll the ends such that the coins can be seen. Here is the relevant passage:

" The object of the invention is to provide a wrapper which may be conveniently laid about a stack of coins or other like articles, and the side edges of the wrapper secured over, or, as indicated in the application referred to, may be crimped upon the ends of the stack so that the articles at the ends of the stack will be exposed to view.

A further object is to so construct the wrapper that in molding or rolling the same about the stack the opposite ends of the wrapper strip about the stack will be drawn tightly longitudinally aof the stack by reason of the crimping operation, so that the rear end of the wrapper strip or that last laid upon the stack will not bulge at the longitudinal center of the stack."

Thus was born the spiral-wrapped, crimped-end, OBW rolling machine, patent applied for in June 1911 and granted in Sep 1913. Here is the Figure 4 from that patent:


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  • Cool post
  • Definitely help answer the question of how coin roles were introduced.
    All the best,



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  • bigjpstbigjpst Posts: 2,750 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • OldEastsideOldEastside Posts: 4,558 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Promote the Hobby
  • mdwoodsmdwoods Posts: 5,523 ✭✭✭
    Great thread. I wonder if any of these rolls are still around?
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  • rickoricko Posts: 86,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Very informative history of coin rolling... thanks... Cheers, RickO
  • CoppercolorCoppercolor Posts: 1,470 ✭✭✭
    THIS!!!! is a great post and represents the kinds of posts that make this forum so valuable.

    I'd like my copper well done please!
  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,225 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Most excellent info, thanks for posting and your research time.

    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.

  • << <i>Great thread. I wonder if any of these rolls are still around? >>

    I thought that as well. Wouldn't that be a cool find.
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 27,211 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is very valuable information.
    Tempus fugit.
  • keyman64keyman64 Posts: 14,538 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ATS there is a thread that discusses rolls of coinage from much earlier dates but not a patent for a machine. Enjoy!

    Info from Roger Burdette of course.
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  • rmpsrpmsrmpsrpms Posts: 1,675 ✭✭✭✭
    The rolls from before around 1900 were rolled completely by hand. The earliest patent I found was the one applied for in 1901, which was a machine to aid in the hand-wrapping of rolls. The rolling of coins (by hand) goes back well before the 1850's...Ray
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  • luckybucksluckybucks Posts: 1,318 ✭✭✭

    << <i>

    << <i>Great thread. I wonder if any of these rolls are still around? >>

    I thought that as well. Wouldn't that be a cool find. >>

    Imagine what would be inside a $25 circulated box of pennies circa 1935: lots of high grade 20's and 30's coins, mid and higher grade Lincolns from the teens (including the better dates), and various IHC's in various grades, dating as far back as the 1860's.
  • BLUEJAYWAYBLUEJAYWAY Posts: 5,540 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Do people still collect the wrappers as a hobby collectible? For a time I used to set aside one from each bank I got rolls from or when purchasing rolls. Different colors and lettering style. I know people collect matchbooks, even barb wire. One thing I used to collect was the mispelling of my last name on printed address labels from correspondence. Had some wild misses of correct spelling.
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  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 18,225 ✭✭✭✭✭

    << <i>The rolls from before around 1900 were rolled completely by hand. >>

    If it's good enough for cigarettes, it good enough for coins.
  • HemisphericalHemispherical Posts: 9,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 22, 2019 5:37PM

    Old Thread Alert

    Reference post so I can find this in the future.

    Coin Wrapper
    Auto Coin Wrapping Machine

    Thanks @rmpsrpms for the information!

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 23,012 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for that. I'm done patent searching and will leave it up to those that know how to do so.

    bob :)

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]

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