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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 37, September 13, 2009, Article 19

MYSTERIOUS LEDGER SIX NINE FOUR: THE OLD COUNTERFEIT STAMPER

Three weeks ago Tom Kays submitted an interesting series of items based on newspaper articles found pasted in an old ledger. Here's part four, with more to follow. -Editor

Old Counterfeit Stamper Even More from Mysterious Ledger Six Nine Four, a turn-of-the-twentieth century newspaper scrapbook of odd and curious tales, another story leads with an illustration of a man-sized tool revealing two hundred-pound cannonballs on a long horizontal bar that twists and drives a "C-shaped" stamping jaw, titled "OLD COUNTERFEIT STAMPER"







NOW OF GOOD CHARACTER

PITTSFIELD MAN HAS AN OLD COUNTERFEITING MACHINE WHICH MADE BAD MONEY BEFORE

THE REVOLUTIONARY DAYS.

In the dooryard of Edwin L. Parker, on the shore of Onota Lake, Pittsfield, stands an old counterfeiting machine whose history dates back beyond revolutionary days, when the manufacture of spurious coin was carried on in New York and Philadelphia. No one has the authentic history of the machine and how long it was used for illegal stamping of spurious coins before it lived down its dark record by many years of honest labor and was finally retired from active operations.

The machine was used by a gang of New York counterfeiters in about 1770, whose operations attracted the attention of government officers. The coin makers sent the machine to Philadelphia in a load of charcoal. The machine was overtaken by the officers and the gang was taken back to New York, where the plates and dies were destroyed.

During the war of 1812 the machine was shipped to Pittsfield, where Lemuel Pomeroy, who made guns for the government, used it to stamp out the S-shaped plates which went on the stock of the flint-lock muskets. The gun factory burned, and the machine fell into the Housatonic River. Caleb Goodrich then bought the machine and used it for "gumming" the old-fashioned up-and-down saws used in sawing lumber. From there it was taken to the Plunkett mill and was used for a like purpose.

About 30 years ago it was purchased by its present owner of the administrator of Mr. Goodrich's estate. Soon after the circular saw came into use and there was no more use for a "gumming" machine. Since that time the machine has stood in the dooryard of Mr. Parker where it has been used as a hitching post and as a tether post for young cattle.



Wayne Homren, Editor

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