Rhode Island Commercial & Illustrated Mail
Commercial Corner Card - Narragansett Machine Company
Providence, Rhode Island with 1 Cent Franklin - Circa 1879 to 1887
(Scroll Down for Background and History of the 1 Cent Franklin Issues)

There is no date stamp on this cover, however we can deduce from the stamp issue and the type of cancellation within a few years of when this cover was sent.

The 1 Cent Franklin was part of a definitive set first produced by the National Bank Note Company from 1870 to 1871. They were produced on white wove paper with either H or I grills with a perforation count of 12 (per 2 centimeters)

Note:  Grills consisted of small square pyramids impressed into the stamp to break the fibers causing the cancellation to be absorbed by the paper and prevent washing and reusing of the stamp. This process was first used in the National Bank Note issues of 1867 and continued up through some of the Continental Bank Note issues of 1875.

The Continental Bank Note Company produced several varieties of this issue beginning in 1873 with and without grills and on several different types of paper. Continental Bank Note Co. 1 Cent Franklins can be readily identified from the earlier National Bank Note issues by the Secret Mark, (a small crescent visible with magnifier in the pearl to the right of the 1 at bottom center of the stamp).

The American Bank Note Company took over the Continental Bank Note Company, including their presses, paper, employees, etc in 1879 and began producing these issues, including the 1 cent Franklin on soft porous paper. The 1 cent Franklin on this cover is on soft porous paper and in addition, the cancellation contains a duplex killer with the letter B in the center. This type of cancellation was first used in 1876

We can further narrow down the date this cover was sent by looking at the company records. The Narragansett Machine Company was incorporated in 1889, which prior to this time was known as the A. E. Tenney Manufacturing Company. The Company's address from 1889 to 1890 was Providence, RI. After 1990 the company address was Pleasant Ave in Pawtucket. Since this cover contains the Providence, RI return address; it had to have been mailed in 1889 or 1890.

Thus we can be reasonably sure that this stamp is the American Bank Note issue of 1879 Scott #182 (Blue Gray Variety) and that the cover was sent some time after 1879.

Note: There is some small possibility that this stamp was produced by the Continental Bank Note Company, as they did produce some issues during 1878 and 1879 on soft porous paper just prior to being taken over by the American Bank Note Company. Odds are, however that this is indeed Scott #182.

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