Notched Dog Tags – The Addressograph Model 70

The answer to the question of “Why is there a notch on dog tags?”  The function of the dog tag was, when used with the Addressograph Model 70,  to transfer the wounded soldier’s identification information directly from his dog tags to his medical records. The notch in the dog tag would align and hold the tag securely in the “Addressograph”.

The Addressograph Model 70 is a medical imprinter  and the reason for the “Notch” in WW2 Dog tags. The Model 70 used the “notch” on the WWII Army dog tags, as a “locating notch” and is referred to in both Addressograph and government documentation as “locating notch.” The Model 70 was issued to medics in the field during WWII. The purpose of the Model 70 was to allow the medic to take a soldiers identification tag and transfer the information on the tag to medical documents by imprinting the text directly onto the document. The Model 70 would accept a notched dog tag and would then transfer the information on the soldiers dog tag to medical paperwork in the field.

Why is there a notch on dog tags?1. The Addressograph Model 70’s sole function was to transfer imprinted information onto military paperwork.

2. The Addressograph Model 70 could not imprint (make), deboss or emboss dog tags.

3. The Addressograph Model 70 had only a rubber pad and a inked ribbon so that the imprinted information could be transferred to paperwork.

4. The Addressograph Model 70 did not have any punches or dies and could not imprint information onto a blank tag or plate.

The Addressograph Model 70 is a “pistol” shaped device that was issued to the medic’s in the field during WWII. The medic would load a soldiers notched dog tag into the front of the device using the notch to locate and orient the tag in the model 70. With a squeeze of the handle the unit would imprint the dog tag information on a document with a carbon or typewriter like ribbon.

Addressograph Model 70 in OperationWWII Addressograph Printer, Model 70. This is a Medical Department item issued to medics to print the information off of I.D. tags onto wound tags. Tag is inserted in the top and the tag in the bottom and the trigger is pulled, thus capturing the information via carbon ribbon onto the tag.

Addressograph Model 70 Tag


Addressograph pistol-type imprinting machine, Model 70, Medical Department Item # 99387

Technical Information on the Addressograph Model 70:

a. The Addressograph Model 70 weighs, xxx lbs.
b. The color of the Model 70 is Olive Drab Green
c. There are two styles of paint on the Addressograph Model 70, The upper body and 1/2 of the lower body utilize a crinkle finish type paint, while the ribbon shroud and the handle and pistol grip are a smooth paint.
d. Body and part of of sheet metal or castings. Castings have minimal finish machining, most areas are as cast with no clean up. All sheet metal has sharp edged removed.
e. The Model 70 is assembled with rivets and screws.


1. Feed reel and Take up reel with knobs for inked ribbon:

The feed reel for the ribbon is located under a sheet metal removable shroud. To the rear of the feed reel there is a knob that protrudes out of the housing. The knob is knurled aluminum and is marked with a circular arrow to indicate the direction the take up reel should be wound for proper operation.

The take up reel is located under a sheet metal removable shroud and is on the right hand side of the unit. The tension knob is located to the rear of the reel and is outside the take up reel housing. The aluminum knob is knurled and is marked with a circular arrow to indicate the direction the operator should wind the take up reel.

The feed and take up reels are spring loaded for tension to prevent the reels from rotating freely. The operator must advance the ribbon by manually rotating the knurled knobs located on either side of the unit.

2. Inked ribbon:

The inked ribbon is used to transfer the information from the identification plates to desired paperwork. The inked ribbon is 1-3/4″ wide and appears to be about 20 feet long. The ribbon itself is much like a heavy cloth ribbon one would find in an old manual typewriter. The ribbon material has the consistency of a very heavy semi-thick cotton cloth much like a standard inked stamp pad found in many offices. Ribbon is saturated with a very heavy black ink. The ribbon feeds from left to right from a feed reel to a take up reel.

3. Addressograph Model 70 name plate:

The Identification plate or name plate is made of thin strip aluminum. It is rectangular in shape and is approximately 22×22 in size. The identification / data plate is located on the left hand side of the unit in the middle of the body. The plate contains the following information:


The name plate is held to the body by two rivets.

4. Line imprinting selector:

The line imprinting selector is an interesting feature of the Addressograph Model 70. There are three settings that the operator can select on the fly. The small aluminum knob is marked with the numbers “2”, “5”, and “3”. The operator can select “2” and the unit will imprint only the first two lines of information. If the “5” is selected the model 70 will imprint all five lines of the identification tag. When “3” is selected the Addressograph will only print the three last lines of the tag, used if the operator wanted to only capture the “Next of Kin” information.

At the three o’ clock position is a indicating notch that shows the operator which embossing selection is currently engaged.

The line selector rotates a shaft that has ground flats that when rotated either engage or dis-engage the imprinting blocks.

5. Pistol Grip and squeeze handle:

The Addressograph Model 70 has a pistol grip that protrudes down from the main upper and lower bodies of the unit. The pisol grip is located at the rear of the unit just below the piviot point. There is a squeeze handle that follows the forward contour of the pistol grip and is actually protruding through the front of the pistol grip.

The squeeze handle is as its name implies a handle that is squeezed to make the Addressograph Model 70 imprint. Inside the pistol grip between the heal of the grip and squeeze handle is a heavy main spring that returns the squeeze handle to its outward position after use.

The squeeze handle is cast aluminum and is solid with a contoured shape to fit the human hand.

6. Tag guide:

The tag guide is of bent sheet metal that protrudes 0.300″ from the front of the unit. The tag guide is formed to make a flat “U” shaped tray or guide. The operator places a identification tag or dog tag into the starting lips of the tag guide and then presses the entire tag into the center section of the unit. The dog tag will then proceed to follow the tag guide until the locating notch in the tag bottoms out on the notch pin.

The tag guide has a spring steel tensioner that allows the tag to be pressed in and removed but does not allow the tag to fall out of the unit.

7. Notch locating pin:

This is the one feature of the machine that has caused so much contreversy. The locating pin is pressed into the aluminum stamping block of the upper housing. The locating pin protrudes downward approimately 0.050″- 0.060″ from the aluminum block.

It is this locating pin that locates on the notch in the WWII, Korean and Vietnam dog tags or identification tags. If a tag is inserted into the machine upside down or incorrectly and the locating notch does not bottom out on the locating pin the tag will not print correctly.

This pin is the only reason for the notch in the WWII style military dog tags.

8. Stamping blocks:

The Addressograph Model 70 has three sets of cast aluminum stamping blocks. There is one upper block and two lower blocks.

The upper block is fixed and does not move. The upper block is permanently located in the upper housing and forms a flat working surface for the identification tag. The upper block is where the tag locating pin is located.

On the lower body there are two stamping blocks. The lower stamping blocks are located inside the main portion of the lower body within the hollow center of the front section. One stamping block is approximately 0.350″ wide while the other is 0.525″ wide. The shorter of the two is used to imprint the first two lines of informationtion from a dog tag while the wider block will imprint the last three lines of text. Both stamping blocks are cast aluminum that has been finished machine with a very dense heavy rubber attached on the top flat of each block.

This rubber acts much the same as a rubber stamp allowing the debossed text of the dog tags to imprint ink from the ribbon and to leave an impression on the stamped paper.

Both lower stamping blocks operate indepenantly of each other and piviot at the rear of the unit. The operator must select which stamping blocks are to be used by using the selector located on the left hand side of the unit.

9. Carry ring:

There is a carry ring located at the rear of the unit and is attached at the piviot point between the upper and lower bodies. The locating ring is rectanglar shaped. The ring rotates freely about the piviot point and is non-removable.

10. Lower body:

The lower body actually moves and piviots up and down. The upper body is fixed and does not move. The lower body is mainly composed of sheet metal and stamped components. The lower body appears to have much more mass than it actually does, the lower body is comprised of two stamped metal side plates joined together to form a arm that is primarily hollow on the inside. Between these two side plates are many of the internal components such as the stamping blocks, tension springs and adjustment screws to mention a few.

11. Upper body:

The upper body is sheet metal and a castings that has been finished machined on selected surfaces. Cast into the body on the upper spine of the unit are the words: “MED. DEPT. U.S. ARMY”. Located just in front of the spine and words is a round spring loaded catch that serves to hold the sheet metal shroud in place. This sheet metal shroud covers the inked ribbon, feed reel and take up reel.

12. Sheet metal shroud:

The sheet metal shroud is semi-triangular in design with large radius corners. The sheet metal shroud covers the inked ribbon, feed reel and take up reel. The top of the shroud is flat with a notch at one end and a shaped spring steel clip on the other end. The slot is for locking the shroud to the body while the spring clip is for holding a second identification tag while it is not being used. On the front or nose of the shroud there is a locating clip that locates into a slot on the feed and take up reel housing. The sheet metal shroud is fabricated by spot welding. Underside of the shroud is not painted, the outside of the shroud is painted olive drab green. The metal shroud is locked securely in

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