Terms Used by Meter Stamp Collectors

Postage Meter Machine: The entire mechanism, whether operated by hand or by mechanical means, which houses a postage meter unit and all other devices needed for the operation of the meter unit by which the unit imprint is placed upon envelopes or tapes.

Postage Meter Unit: The unit housing the printing and recording mechanism which is contained within the postage meter machine.  The postage meter unit is detachable (except in the desk-type model) and when detached, it is then carried to a post office for setting upon prepayment of a specified amount of postage.  The postage meter unit imprints by a geared process the die member upon envelopes or tapes and is used on all classes of mail.

Types of Machines:

Single-denomination: having only one postage die member and capable of printing only one postage value.

Multiple-denomination: a postage meter unit having either 3, 5, or 10 combinations of postage die members and capable of imprinting a multiple variety of postage values.

Omni-denomination: a postage die member capable of imprinting a series of postage values by means of lever setting, either on tapes or directly upon envelopes.

Manifold Settings: the various dials and lever-like parts used in setting the mechanisms required to imprint postage values and/or post-mark ads.

Die Head Member: the unit within the postage meter unit which prints the primary meter stamp design.  Changes in postage value and in dates are caused by the setting of dials or levers by the operator of the postage meter machine.

Slug Type: the movable letters or figures which are readily changed for printing essential data, namely, the month, date, time and year of mailing.

Postage Meter Stamp: the postal marking imprinted by the die head member upon tapes or envelopes having a distinctive mark or design, which, when used with the proper date and postage acts as a postage stamp and becomes invalid or cancelled upon proper mailing.

Post Mark: the identification circle found at the left side of the postage meter stamp imprint giving required postal data of town and state of origin either with or without a date and/or time of mailing.

Postmark Ad or Slogan: any design, art work, legend or slogan imprinted to the left of the postage meter stamp in combination with the imprinted postage meter stamp which contains advertising material, or a slogan.

Varieties: any intentional or unintentional change from an approved basic postage meter stamp design, such as spelling errors, inverts, spacing between letters in town or state names, postal rates, color of inks and paper tapes.

Mailers' Errors: an error caused by incorrect or improper usage of the postage meter machine, such as incorrect dates, double impressions and similar errors.

Essay: a design or meter postage imprint which has not been approved by the Post Office Department by which may have been submitted for such approval.

Proof: a postage meter stamp which has been approved by the Post Office Department but has not been through the mails.  Used solely for demonstration purposes.


SOSSI JOURNAL, VOL. 8, NO. 12, December 1959.
Updates and modifications by Keith Larson, 1998.

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