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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
an old device, now obsolete, formerly used 'in the English exchequer for the purpose of keeping accounts. The tally was a willow or hazel stick about one inch in depth and thickness, and roughly shaped like a thick knife-blade (see Fig. 1). Notches (see Fig. 2) were cut on it showing the amount stoves which warmed the houses of parliament. On the i.6th of October 1834 the houses of parliament were burnt down by the overheating of the stoves through using too many of the tallies. The so-called tally-trade was an old system of dealing carried on in London and in the manufacturing districts of England, by which shopkeepers furnished certain articles on credit to their customers, the latter paying the stipulated price for them by weekly or monthly instalments (see M` Culloch, Dictionary of Commerce) - the precursor, in fact, of the modern instalment system.
See S. R. Scargill-Bird, Guide to the Public Records (Calendar of State Papers); H. Hall, Curiosities and Antiquities of the Exchequer. FIG. I.-A tally (4 scale) (not the same as that shown in Fig. 2).
paid, a gauged width of 12 inches representing 1000, 1 inch boo, g inch rio, half a notch of this size representing £1; 1 3 - 6 - inch is., and the smallest notch id.; half-pennies were represented by small holes. The account of the transaction was written on the two opposite sides, the piece of wood being then split down the middle through the notches; one half, called the tally, being given as a form of receipt to the person making the payment, while the other half, called the counter-tally, was kept in the exchequer. Payments made into the exchequer were entered into an account-book, from which they were trans
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Tally'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/t/tally.html. 1910.