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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




    127. Grouping of Transfer Forms. The most obvious way to classify the various transfer forms in a collection is by the issuing system. The company name ordinarily appears on the transfer, and usually the company is a system. Sometimes, indeed, a system includes several companies (as indicated by the name of the company on the transfer); but in any case, the company name is the controlling factor. Indeed, in a very few cases the company name is omitted; but it can usually be supplied, except in the case of derelict transfers found too far from the issuing territory. The former transfer form issued on the interurban line from Darby, Pa., to Wilmington, Del., bore no company name, because that name differed in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Also the Youngstown (Ohio) Municipal Railway does not print its name on the transfer it issues. But, in general, there is no difficulty in ascertaining the exact system to which a transfer belongs (the issuing system being what counts), and it is well to arrange a collection of transfers so that all transfers from any one system are all together, whether there are two or a hundred of them.

     If the collector adopts such a notation for systems as is suggested in Section 25, an example of such notation being shown in detail in Appendix A, then it will be possible to arrange the various systems represented in the collection by code number. Thus the transfers in the collection will not only be classified by system, but also geographically by district and sub-district.

     A very small collection, of not more than fifty or sixty transfers, may be kept in a single pile, the systems represented not being otherwise separated than by the fact that all transfers from the same system are kept together. A rubber band may be used to keep the pile together, but it is hardly recommended for the main collection, since it is likely to spoil the transfers. However, the collection of duplicates and of "extra duplicates," not being so important, may well be kept together by rubber bands.

     But when a collection becomes large, one can hardly make a single pile out of it without some sort of container, so each system should be kept separately, though still in the order of the file or code number. Probably the best way to do this is by the use of envelopes, using a separate envelope for each system. Another possible way, though an extremely unwieldy one, is by a series of pigeon holes, allowing one or more holes to each system. If envelopes are used, it may be convenient to group them by sub-districts with rubber bands.

     128. Transfer Envelopes. If (as we think is the best way), the collector keeps his various transfer forms in envelopes, with a transfer-issuing system assigned to each envelope, the question arises as to what kind of envelope to use. An ordinary letter envelope is too small to accommodate the average transfer without folding. Furthermore, even if an envelope could be obtained which is of the proper size, it is hardly advisable to use an envelope which opens along one of its long sides; if such an envelope is used, a large number of transfers getting into it will open the envelope too easily and many transfers will be lost; this disadvantage does not apply if the envelope opens at one of the ends. Further, it is not advisable too use envelopes with gum on the flaps, since such are liable to seal themselves in damp weather; but a flap is needed to keep the transfers from falling out. So we recommend that the collector make his own envelopes. This process of amateur envelope making should add interest to the collection of transfers. We suggest as the proper size for transfer envelopes, 8 x 21 cm (or, let us say, 3 x 8 in). The reader will find in Appendix G a design and directions for making transfer envelopes which will fullfil every purpose that will normally be required of them. We may note that, with the use of some paste or glue on the flap, they can also be used for letters.

     129. Labelling the Envelopes. Each envelope in use as a container of a part of the collection should be properly labelled to indicate and describe just what it covers. We recommend the following procedure: the name of the system placed as centrally as possible on the envelope, and in writing of a fairly conspicuous size. Underneath this an outline statement of the approximate territory covered by the system, and, if desired, any popular name by which the system is better known. In this writing, the length of the envelope should be horizontal, with the loose flap at the right. At the right-hand end of the envelope, immediately following the name and description of the system, should be placed the symbolic notation for the fare rates represented by the transfers in the envelope (see Section 11 for a good mode of notation). The file number for the system should be in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope. If there are subsidiary companies whose names appear on the transfers, their names may be listed at the bottom of the envelope. The envelope may carry on its front a list of the issues covered. If there are several envelopes for the same system, each one should be labelled (below the name and description of the system) with a description of just which kinds of transfers are contained in it, and a notice should be put on the top of the envelope look in the other envelopes of that system for further transfers.

    Thus the labelling on the transfer envelopes will be of varying complexity, and will probably he added to from time to time, as fares are changed, new kinds of transfers are acquired, new issues appear, or envelopes are divided or rearranged.

    To illustrate these directions, we append some simple labellings of envelopes from our own collection, both simple and complicated.

    Since the labelling of transfer envelopes is intended to be fairly permanent, it should be done in ink rather than in pencil. If alterations are afterwards found necessary, ink eradicator may be used.

    In giving the name of the system, the ending "Company," "Corporation," or other similar endings, may readily left out if the preceding word is "Railroad" or "Railway." The ending "System" should be used if there are several sub-systems, or several subsidiary companies, or several different types of vehicles or of service, or if the territory covered is not quite continuous. This rule as to the use of the word "system" on the envelope is intended merely as a guide, not as a strict rule.

    In the case of municipally owned systems, the official name should be used as it appears on the transfers; simplification of this title may sometimes be made, but this is hardly advisable. An explanation, if necessary, may be put in on the envelope. Note that, though the term "Municipal Railway" with the city name is one way of indicating municipal ownership, it does not always mean that. The following is an example of the mode of labelling such transfer envelopes. The envelope is otherwise marked as previously explained; so that "4Mi" is the code number of the system (Appendix A), and "6" means a six-cent fare.

     130. Filling Envelopes. If the collector desires to keep his transfers in order, it is hardly advisable for him to fill the envelopes so that, when the contents of an envelope are taken out, one transfer will be right side up and the other upside down, or one showing its front and another its back. We may suggest, to prevent this as far as possible, that all transfers be placed front face up when being put into the envelope, and that the loose flap of the envelope or, otherwise, the end at which the transfers are inserted be considered as at the right of horizontal transfers, and at the top end of vertical transfers. For further "orderliness," transfers in a single envelope should be kept in order as suggested by their file numbers (of which more will be said later). When some such definite order as this has been established for all the transfers in anyone envelope, new transfers to be added should be placed in their proper order in the pile. This can best be accomplished by taking out the entire contents of the envelope without, however, separating the transfers or disturbing their order, going through the pile till the right place is found for the new transfer, lifting off all preceding transfers in a block, inserting the newly-acquired transfer, then replacing the block of transfers lifted off, and smoothing out the pile; after which the pile as a whole is ready to be replaced in the envelope. The procedure does not differ essentially if more than one transfer is to be inserted.

    Since an envelope is likely to stretch out of shape when too full, and since there is some limit to the envelope's capacity, it is not advisable to put too many transfers into one envelope, even if they all belong to the same system. From thirty to forty transfers is about all that should be put into one envelope of the sort described in Appendix G; if more are collected which would belong there, it is best to divide or rearrange the pile.

    131. Division of Envelopes. If a certain envelope is devoted to all transfer forms collected from a specified system, and too many forms are collected to go conveniently into the envelope, the best thing to do is divide the envelope: that is, make out another envelope, labelling and all, and divide the transfer forms in question as evenly as possible between the two. This division should be based on some definite classification of transfer forms, whether a difference in issues (new issues, etc.), or a geographical distinction, or some other classification of issuing units, or a difference in class of transfer, or a difference in sub-systems. This process of dividing the envelope may also be used effectively if one of several envelopes used for any system gets too full of transfers, though, in that case, a rearrangement may serve the purpose better. This may mean a change in the basis of classification separating the various envelopes, thus involving a shifting of transfers from one envelope to another; or it may be really a division of several envelopes, where a new one is made out from part of the contents of several others.

     In case of either a division or rearrangement of envelopes, the labels of the several envelopes involved should be changed to fit the new classification. If this involves the erasure of any part of the labels, and these labels are in ink, then ink eradicator could be used, though nothing new should be written over any part of such erasure till the paper is quite dry. When a division of envelopes is made, the notice to look in the other envelope for further transfers should be put on both envelopes.

    The basis for a division or rearrangement of envelopes should be something fairly obvious and uniform, taking into consideration not merely the actual numbers at the time of division, but how many new transfers the collector may hope to get for each envelope in question.

    Division of envelopes may also take place when the collector decides that what he has regarded as a single system should rather be regarded as two or more systems, so that more envelopes may be needed for the extra systems. This is, for example, what we did in our own collection when we decided to list the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (now the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit) and the Brooklyn City Railroad as separate systems. If the combined systems were represented in the collection by several envelopes, and none of the individual systems require so many envelopes, then we will have a rearrangement. Likewise, if the collector has two or more systems on his list, each with separate envelopes, which he decides should better be listed as a single system, and the total collection of transfers does not require all the envelopes, then we may have a consolidation or unity of envelopes. This involves retiring one or more envelopes from use in the collection; such envelopes may well he treated with ink eradicator so that none of the old labelling is left, and preserved for the chance of the need of new envelopes, either for new systems, or for a division of old envelopes.

    To show on what bases of classification envelopes may be divided, we append a list of how we have classified into several envelopes the systems represented in our collection by too many transfers for one envelope.


  Bridgeport Zone
  Hartford Division
  New Haven Zone, pink and purple forms
  New Haven Zone, except pink and purple forms
  Lines North and East of New Haven, except Hartford Division
  Lines West of Bridgeport


  Two-cent Transfers
  Free Transfers


  Manhattan Lines
  Bronx Lines, routes 1-17
  Bronx Lines, routes 18-38
  Lines North of Bronx
  Queensborough Lines


  Two-cent Transfers (forms in use before 11-2-22)
  Free Transfers, Nassau Electric Railroad (forms in use 11 before 11-2-22)
  Free Transfers outside N. E. Railroad (forms in use before 11-2-22)
  Forms introduced November 2, 1922 
  Forms introduced on or after June 10, 1923


  Conductor's Transfers
  Continuing Trip and Feeder Tickets
  Miscellaneous Forms


  Hudson River Zones, regular transfer forms
  Newark Lines, regular transfer forms
  Newark Interurban Lines, regular transfer forms
  Lines North of Trenton, outside Newark and Hudson River Zones, regular transfer forms
  Lines North of Trenton, special forms
  Lines South of Trenton


  Regular Transfers in use before October 5, 1924, routes 1-29
  Regular Transfers in use before October 5, 1924, routes 30-81
  Special Transfer Forms in use before October 5, 1924
  Forms introduced on or after October 5, 1924


  Routes 1-13 inclusive
  Routes 14-33 inclusive


  Regular Transfers
  Free and Repeat Transfers


  Forms before 1924
  Forms beginning 1924; in and special forms only
  Forms beginning 1924; out and bus forms only

     The above list is given merely to show how division of envelopes may conveniently be made. Of course, such division depends considerably upon how many transfers are collected from each system, and what part of each system was covered, and the chances of completing the collection in each case. It also depends largely on the issues covered, and the period when the collection took place. Thus, in our collection there are six envelopes for the Public Service Railway system of New Jersey; but, if we should start collecting now, since most of the transfer privileges have been abolished, it would be doubtful if we could fill a single envelope from the entire system. All the rest, considerably over a hundred, are obsolete transfers, that is, transfers which are no longer issued. Of course, much of any transfer collection is likely to become obsolete, either new issues are made, or as transfer privileges are abolished; and the collector may value these forms more highly, since they cannot be replaced if lost. Of course, it is understood that such value can only be a sentimental one, since trading in transfers is illegal.

    132. Duplicate Collections. Keeping duplicate transfers, that is, transfers of the same form as those already in the main collection, may sometimes be of interest, though hardly worth special attention. Such a collection should be divided into duplicates and extra duplicates, the former containing only one of each form, the latter containing any extra transfers of the same form as those in the duplicate collection. Thus, suppose that a number of transfers of the same form are picked up at once, let us say a conductor's derelict pad, and suppose that that form is not yet in the main collection; then one transfer from the pad goes into the main collection, one into the duplicate collection, and the rest of the pad into the extra duplicate collection. Either of the collections of duplicates should only contain transfers in good condition; others may be thrown away.

    Since such a collection win not be likely to reach great numbers, it is hardly worth while making out envelopes for duplicate transfers. We would suggest simply keeping each collection together with a rubber band, the transfers in each arranged according to file or code number of their respective issuing systems.

    133. Keeping Count of a Collection. Since one of the objects of a collection is to get as many forms as possible, the collector may be interested in keeping correct count of the number of transfers in his collection. In a very small collection, this can easily be accomplished by counting the number of forms directly, but this would hardly answer in the case of a large collection. The collector should begin by keeping a record of the number of forms in his collection while that collection is still small, counting several times over to check himself. This can be put down, together with the date when the count was taken; then, as transfers are added to the collection the requisite number of new transfers can be added to that number, and the new number of transfer forms may be set down opposite the date of the acquisition, so that a complete record will result, showing the growth of the collection. Similar count may be kept of the number of envelopes in the collection and the number of systems represented. The same may be done with the original duplicate collection; the collection of extra duplicates would be difficult to follow in the same way, since it need not consist of entirely different forms. The whole record of this may conveniently be kept in columns, as follows:

Date       Var.       Dup.       Env.       Sys.
1- 1-25 1522 35 134 106
1- 2-25 1550 37 135 107
1- 5-25 1567 . . 138 110
1- 6-25 1590 40 140 112
1- 7-25 1595 42 . . . . . .
1- 8-25 1610 . . 141 113
1- 9-25 1616 . . 143 115
1-11-25  1617 . . . . . . . .
1-15-25 1618 . . . . . . . .
1-16-25 1620 43 . . . . . .
1-19-25 1621 . . . . . . . .
1-20-25 . . . . 44 . . . . . .
1-21-25 . . . . 45 . . . . . .
1-24-25 1622 46 . . . . . .
2- 1-25 1624 . . 144 116
2-2-25 1625 . . . . . . . .

     The column headings above mean the following: "Var." for varieties, meaning the number of distinct forms, hence the size of the main collection; "Dup." for duplicates, indicating the size of the original duplicate collection; "Env." indicating the number of envelopes, and "Sys." the number of issuing systems represented in the collection.

    The collector may occasionally check on these figures by an actual count, but this is subject to error in the case of great numbers. A better check is to keep a similar record on the back of each envelope showing the number of forms in that envelope. This can be done in several pairs of columns. When envelopes are divided, united, or rearranged, that fact should be noted on the count record for that envelope; if a new envelope is started, the first date entered may be preceded by the date at which it was started. If an envelope is withdrawn, this count record may be erased if in pencil, or removed by eradicator if in ink. In the case of uniting two or more envelopes, the notation should be "envelopes united," or words to that effect, and the new number opposite the date of this change should be the sum of the numbers in the several combined envelopes, plus any new acquisitions of that day. In case of division or rearrangement of the envelopes, a complete count of each envelope affected should be made, and any difference in the totals from what they were before should check up with the number of newly-acquired transfers, if any. As a sample of such a record, we give the following:

 2-19-23  3              envelope
 6-17-23 11 divided:
 8- 5-23 13 9-26-24 19
 8-10-23 24
 9- 3-23 26
 9-11-23 27

10-28-23 54

11- 4-23 27
 1- 1-24 46
 1- 4-24 26


 2-12-24 25
 3- 2-24 26
 9- 1-24 34
 9-14-24 35
 9-21-24 36

     From the above it will be seen how such a record enables the collector to see how each envelope is progressing, and when divisions or rearrangements are advisable. Thus, the entry under 10-28-23 of 54 transfers in the envelope would indicate, even were it not obvious to the eye, that it is about time to make out a new envelope; so we have a division of the envelope. Furthermore, the envelope counts can be used to check up the total collection count, since the added counts of all the envelopes should make up the total count for the collection. Where the collection is too large, these counts may be added first in sub-districts, then in districts, and lastly all together, to make it easier to detect errors. Furthermore, starting with the envelope counts makes it also easier to check up because it is comparatively easy to count the number of transfers in a single envelope. Adding up the envelope counts by sub-districts and districts not only puts a check on the total number of forms in the main collection, but also indicates the geographical distribution of these forms.

    In either collection counts or envelope counts, if newly-acquired transfers are added several times in the same day, it is probably best to correct the entry already made rather than make a new entry for each time, so that the count that appears will be that at the end of the day indicated.


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