Thursday, September 23, 2021

An actual Weight Agreement stamp

 Over a number of previous posts, I have described Weight Agreements and showed the typical kinds of rubber stamp impressions added to waybills to document the existence of these Agreements. (For example, see this one: ). The agreements essentially allowed the shipper’s knowledge of unit weights in a shipment to calculate total shipment weights.

For additional background on this topic, I have described how these Weight Agreements worked, and discussed the various regional Weighing and Inspection Bureaus, or WIBs, at some length. Here is one discussion that is pertinent: .

Recently I had an amazing contact from an individual who had found an unusual rubber stamp in an “antique” store and managed to buy it. Reading the legend on the stamp led this person to try Googling the name on the stamp — and found my blog posts on this topic. What did the stamp say? Trans-Continental Freight Bureau! The bureau for the Far West!

And then, since I was the source of the information to identify what the stamp was, the finder offered to send it to me. I accepted at once! and it soon arrived. The overall appearance of the stamp is shown below. It is about 3 inches high, and the base is about 1.5 inches square.

Turning the stamp over to see the working part, it looks like this.

But of course the lettering is all reversed, so that when it’s used, the stamped lettering will read correctly. The image above is easily given a mirror image flip using any image application (I used Photoshop), and then below you can read what it says. Note that there is a blank for the agreement number, which can be written in by hand or typed.

With this in hand, of course it is irresistible to ink up the stamp and stamp some images. You can see above that parts of the stamp are worn, and of course it is at least 50 years old, maybe more. The material no longer feels like a rubber stamp, but has become quite hard. Still, I wanted to try and get an image of the lettering. Here’s one try, using a blue stamp pad:

You can see that the center part doesn’t print well, though that’s probably realistic for waybill stamps. The center of the stamp may have shrunk a little more than the perimeter. 

By pressing paper against the stamp, instead of the other (normal) way around, I can get more of the lettering to print, as you see with this purple stamp pad.

This may be a little better as an original for model bills. As I have shown in prior posts, I can adapt these images to use on my model waybills, and will do so. But that’s not the main point. What a surprise, to acquire an actual Weight Agreement stamp, and from my layout’s home territory! A huge thank-you to my benefactor.

Tony Thompson

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