The Two Types of Squared Circle Hammers
The “Squared Circle” canceling devices were first used in 1893 when these hammers were brought into use in over 300 towns and cities. There were two main types of Squared Circles, mainly characterized by narrow or wide bars.
The Squared Circle hammers were in popular use during the Victorian period, though a few towns continued to use the devices through the Edwardian, and George V periods with the odd straggling use showing up into the late 40”s.
The latest usage I have seen although philatelically inspired was a first day cover produced for the 5c First Land Postal Service between Quebec, Trois Riviere and Montreal stamp dated SP 25 63. Does anyone else have an actual squared circle hammer usage later than this to report?
*Diagrams and Pictures from “The Squared Circle Postmarks of Canada”
– Moffett and Hansen 1981.
The hammer itself could be considered a rather clumsy devise with a knob on the end as a hand grip. This could have accounted for the relative short use of this hammer and also, the scarcity of some towns which could have just been the preference by the postmaster to use other canceling devices.
In addition to the ultimate goal of acquiring one impression from each hammer, many collectors study the time marks and other indicia as well as the collection of dates, geographical areas and the collection on specific stamps as well as covers.
Because of the smaller numbers of towns using the Type One Hammers, this group makes a great study. And…..includes a number of great rarities like Coleman, known to exist on a very small number of strikes. On the other end of the spectrum is Ottawa, a great study in its own right due to the very large quantity of material available and interesting time mark patterns.
The Type Two squared circles are of course available on a large number of towns and used over a longer period providing a huge and diverse field for collectors.
The question is also asked about why the changeover to Type Two wide bars and it is postulated that this may be due to the potential for hammer damage and excessive wear.