The printing press on display was used from the 1920s for printing tickets for the South Australian
Railways and the State Transport Authority. It prints Edmondson tickets - small 2 1/4" x 1 3/16"
(57mm x 30mm) coloured cards which until recent times, were in almost universal use by rail systems
throughout the world.
Thomas Edmondson was born in Lancaster, in the UK on 30th June 1792. As a boy he began his
apprenticeship with a local woodworker, but completed it with a furniture maker and became a
journeyman cabinetmaker. He went into a partnership with some friends, but the business failed
and he was forced to look for employment elsewhere. For a while he became involved in the tea
and grocery business, but was never happy in this field.
In 1836, at the age of 44, he applied for and was successful in obtaining a position as
Stationmaster at Scotsby on the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway, but later he moved to Milton where
he formed the idea of a new type of passenger ticket.
While at Milton, Thomas Edmondson built a small printing frame in which he produced card tickets
measuring 1 1/2" x 1 1/8" (39mm x 29mm) showing the issuing station and destination, the number
(still written) and the value. His tickets were numbered from 0 to 9999, so that the number of
the next ticket to be sold represented the number of tickets sold to that point. This system
survived until Edmondson tickets were phased out in favour of electronic and other types 150
The printing press still operates and is used by the museum to print tickets for special events.