The Schermack name is best known for the private stamp perforations produced by the Schermack Company. Several companies in the vending/mail processing industries took sheets of stamps printed by the US Post Office and created their own rolls of stamps, for use in their machines. Schermack experimented with different types of perforations to determine which worked best in their mailing/affixing/stamp vending machines. They produced three primary perforations: Type I, Type II, and Type III (also known as the hyphen-hole perforation). Type III is the most commonly found perforation, because it was produced for a longer period. Below are illustrations of the various performations:
Images of the Mailometer Company building in Detroit and the Mailometer machine in use. The Schermack Mailing Machine Company was re-named the Mailometer Company when Joseph J. Schermack severed his relationship with the company to focus on building stamp vending machines as the Schermack Company. The Mailometer Company was in existence until the early 1920′s, when it was acquired by Pitney Bowes.
Rare 1911 Schermack stamp vending machine, with an enamelled, cast iron body. This was the first vending machine patented by Joseph J. Schermack, as he changed his focus from mailing machines to vending machines. While this specimen is not in pristine condition, it is a rare surviving example.
Joseph J. Schermack invented a phonographic attachment to his “continuous bucket” vending machine. When the handle was turned to dispense the product, it activated a small phonograph that said “Thank You” or a company slogan. These were the famous “Talking Salesmen” vending machines featured in a January, 1929 article in Scientific American.
Joseph J. Schermack’s first patent was for a cork puller, in 1901. He was associated with the Freeport Novelty Company, in Freeport, Illinois.
Schermack stamp machines sold war savings stamps during World War I. In a newpaper photo, Detroit Mayor Oscar Marx is purchasing a war saving stamp.