Thomas Edmondson

Died aged c. 59

Thomas Edmondson (30 June 1792 in Lancaster, England – 22 June 1851 in Manchester, England) was the inventor of the Edmondson railway ticket. He was a member of the Religious Society of Friends and originally worked in the Lancaster cabinet making business of Gillow. While working as a station master at Milton (later Brampton) on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway he devised the idea of a new type of railway ticket: a small piece of cardboard, pre-printed with journey details (as opposed to the then current hand-written paper bill). The tickets would be numbered by hand, and validated by a separate date-stamping press when purchased. He also invented and built a foot-operated version of the latter device. When the Manchester and Leeds Railway opened in 1839 Edmondson became the company's chief booking clerk at Manchester. The invention which made Edmondson's fortune was his final development: a machine which would print tickets in batches complete with the serial numbers. He patented this machine, and was able to charge a royalty to railway companies amounting to ten shillings per annum per mile of the company's routes. His machines and their improved successors quickly became the standard for British and other railways. He died a wealthy man; members of his family carried on the business for many years afterwards. The South Tynedale Railway based at Alston in Cumbria operates an 0-4-0 Henschel designed steam locomotive named for Thomas Edmondson on the 125th anniversary of his card ticket invention. The STR also uses Edmondson Card tickets for travel. The Norwegian State Railways (Norges Statsbaner - NSB) used Edmondson Card Ticket until the late 1990’s, some small stations in the Oslo local traffic area being the last to sell them. The Norwegian Railway Club «inherited» the NSB’s last two ticket printing presses. One of them is still (2022) in working order, being used to print tickets for the Norwegian heritage lines.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

In a house on this site was born on the 30th June 1792 Thomas Edmondson inventor of the Railway Ticket Dating Press & Printing Machinery (1837-40). Died in Manchester 22nd June 1851.

Moor Lane, Lancaster, United Kingdom where they was born (1792)