Young children today often dress-up when they are playing. Sometimes, they pretend to be doctors, astronauts, ballet-dancers or footballers. In the past, children dressed up, too. Some of the outfits and the toys were different from those today.
At the beginning of the 20th century all buses had conductors, and the 'dressing-up' outfit with the appropriate objects, as a plaything for children, was quite common. Shown here is a toy bus conductor's ticket punch. It is made of tin, with a leather strap. The mechanism for punching tickets is on the top - the ticket is slid into a slot, the wire loop at the bottom is pulled and a small spike comes down and punches a hole in the ticket. When this happens a bell rings which makes this a very satisfying toy for children and also gives the machine its name - the Bell Punch machine. Stamped on the front of the toy are the initials G.O.C. These were the initials of the London General Omnibus Company, which existed until they became part of London Transport in 1933. Bell Punch machines were invented in 1891 and were used until 1953 when they were replaced by a new machine.