Home Manufacturers Cash Balls Wire systems Cable systems Pneumatic systems Locations References Patents

James L. Baldwin Carrier Co.

(From advertisement in the Merchants Record and Shop Window, Feb. 1916, p. 1)

Baldwin cash carrier systems were generally known as "Baldwin Flyers".

In the 3 March, 1900 issue of the Chicago Dry Goods Reporter, p. 60, there is an advertisement for the Acme Cash Railway and the address to write to for a catalog is James L. Baldwin, Western Sales Agent, 121 LaSalle Street, Chicago. So Baldwins either owned or acted as agents for Acme as far back as 1900.

The Daily Morning Journal (New Haven) of 30 Mar. 1903, p. 6, reported that Mr James L. Baldwin of Chicago, the western salesman of the International Cash Railway company, had arrived in the city to visit his mother. I don't know if this is a mistake or another title for the Acme company.

The Darling Downs Gazette (Qld.). 2 Feb. 1910, p. 5 reported that "Mr. C.S. Gray, bookseller and stationer of Ruthven street, has been appointed local agent for the "Flyer Cash Carrier" ... The establishment equipped with the 'Flyer' does not seem full of wires, etc., as only one small guage track wite, drawn tight, is required for each station." Also the Tariff Decisions reported by the Daily Telegraph (Sydney) on 15 April 1910 include "Cash railway systems .. e.g. Flyer Cash Carrier (worked on the spring principle)" so it could well be an American import. I have not come across any definite installations in Australia (though perhaps Mr Gray had one).

An advertisement in the Merchants Record and Shop Window, July 1911, claimed that "The Baldwin Flyer cash carriers are fast replacing the old unsightly carrier systems that made use of a multitude of unsightly guy-wires, braces, gas-pipe, etc. The Baldwn carriers can be so arranged in the store that there is not an overhead fixture in sight and the carriers and stations have been so perfected that they add to the beauty of the store. See cut of our improved shelf bracket... Write for our catalogue today - it will pay you. James L. Baldwin & Co., 352 W. Madison St., Chicago, Ill."

Another advertisement in the same magazine, July 1914, claimed 23½ years of Baldwin success, which would mean the business started in 1891.

Reduce the Cost of Doing Business. Centralize your cash and credit sales — keep your clerks selling goods, not acting as cash-boys and it's not economy to have a lot of cash drawers with typewriter keys, etc., for they not only take the clerks time to operate but they greatly increase your investment; add to the cost of the many cash drawers the expense and risk of keeping each drawer supplied with at least $25.00 in change. To register sale-totals does not prevent mistakes. The only safe and correct way is to have your money or goods checked by two sets of hands and brains. Connect up your cashier or inspector and clerks with a BALDWIN CARRIER SYSTEM. Let us help you solve your problem. Give your clerks more time to make sales. They are worth most to you by giving their undivided attention to customers. The Flyer Cash Carrier is absolutely unequalled for Steep Grades, Speed, Easy Operation and Neat Appearance, only one fine track wire to each station.

Tell your probtem to Mr. Baldwin who will personally study it, and benefit you in so doing.

Baldwin Flyer Ball-Bearing Cash and Package Carriers. No oil required, think of it. No more dripping oil to damage goods and collect dust. Even a child can send it. SAVE TIME. EASIEST TO SEND.

Give permanent satisfaction, that's worth most to you. 23½ years of Baldwin Success is your guarantee of perfect satisfaction. No spreading wires to crystallize, break and fly through the store. BALDWIN'S Track wires are stationary, permanent and Never Break, as they are NOT used to propel the Carrier. Baldwin's propulsion is most powerful; compact, as well as easiest to operate.



As with other manufacturers, Baldwin had ways of communicating with upper floors. This illustrates "No. 22 Overshoot". Advertisement in Merchants Record and Shop Window, Feb. 1914, p. 1



(From the same advertisement. )

This advertisement in the Merchants Record and Shop Window, Feb. 1916, p. 1, included "Baldwin Ball Bearing Cash and Package Carriers .. a product of twenty-five years' experience specializing on Wire Line Carriers. There are no parts to get out of order, in fact, the entire construction is so simple it is Fool Proof."


A later advertisement in the Dry Goods Merchants Trade Journal of August 1925 claimed that "From the East Coast to the West [of the United States], the progressive merchants are using the Flyer... A quarter of a century of service rendering has improved the Baldwin Flyer until today it is recognised everywhere as an answer to the problem of efficient money handling." In support of their claim, testimonials were quoted from customers in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Oregon.

In 1913 a query from E. H. Stoterau & Company of Sherburn, Minnesota appeared in American Artisan and Hardware Record (24 May, p. 40): "Please let us know where we can buy the Janesville Cash Carrier System." The answer given was James N. Baldwin & Company, Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company and Universal Pneumatic Transmission Company all with Chicago addresses.

A 1929 advertisement gave the address as 26 S. Clinton Street.

James Baldwin took out US patent no.1,432,947 in 1922 and another in 1931 relating to a wire system able to travel vertically, though that was already possible in 1914 according to the advertisement.






The illustration shows a wire carriage and a propulsion with an elastic cord, rather like the Air-Line.

From US patent no. 1,784,776 of 1930. The trigger looks very much like Rapid Wire.

A system (model 31) has been re-errected at LeBaron & Miller Interiors, Freeport, Illinois. The car is similar to the one in the advertisement above.

In 2007 part of a system from the Emery Bird Thayer department store in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, was offered for sale on eBay and kind permission was given to reproduce the photographs below. This has quite a different shaped car.

Two propulsions (upside down) and a car. The elastic can be seen below the car.

The container is cylindrical, a bit like a torpedo. The car carries the name "The Flyer"

"Baldwin Flyer" also appears on the propulsion.


As with other makes, Baldwin Flyers were used for other applications. The San Antonio [Texas] Express, 3 Dec. 1952, p.20 reported "The Baldwin Flyer is going again... That.. is the Baldwin Flyer, known in this office as 'The Goldberg', after a man named Rube. The Goldberg is our mechanical copy boy."

As well as cash carriers, Baldwin (like Lamsons and Gipe) made basket carriers. There is a basket system still operating at Stout's Shoes, Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis. The store was opened in 1886 and the carrier dates from 1928. The carrier carries the shoes and the money in a "worn leather cash box" up a wire to the mezzanine floor where an employee (often Mr Brad Stout) makes change, wraps the goods, and returns it. "On a busy day, all you hear is the swish-swish-swish of the baskets going up and down" he said. The manufacturer, based at Rosemont Ill., said that this was the only one still in active service. The Smithsonian Institution had asked for one to display but none was available. There is a good photograph of a car taken from the level of the wire on the Historic Indianapolis website. The name BALDWIN can be seen clearly on the car and the way that the basket is suspended.