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Lamson (Australia and New Zealand)

Cash Balls

Cash Baskets

Rapid Wire



Pneumatic tubes

Rapid Wire system (and some pneumatic tube apparatus?) at Lamson's office in Auckland. Photograph courtesy of Maria Bennett

Mr William M. O'Regan of Sydney, a candidate for the New South Wales parliament, visited New Haven CT in May 1883. He noted the Lamson cash carrier system in use at Malley's (his relative and schoolmate) and was so impressed that he intended to visit Lowell with a view to introducing it to the colony. Morning Journal and Courier [New Haven], 3 May 1883, p.2. Foy and Gibson in Melbourne had a cash railway system in March 1886. Lamson must have been established in Australia by April 1887, when they made a donation to the Bulli Colliery Disaster Fund - Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 4 Apr. 1887, p. 1. The Otago Witness, 16 May 1889, reported that 28 of the principal shops in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane had by then adopted the cash railway. Mr E.G.Rowlands of Melbourne, also a manufacturer of aerated water and cordials, was the sole proprietor of the invention for the Australasian colonies and the installation at the Beehive Stores in Bendigo was described by the newspapers as a "Rowlands' Patent Cash Railway System".

Mr Charles O. Kemp was appointed as agent in Sydney and opened for business on 28 September, 1889. Kemp stated that Sydney was chosen in preference to Melbourne because the port was free and so he would not be compelled to pay a heavy duty on his materials as would be the case in Melbourne. [Sydney] Daily Telegraph, 18 Oct. 1889, p. 3. The first firm to adopt the system was Lassetter and Co.,Ibid. On 25 October, the [Sydney] Evening News, p. 8 carried an article "The Lamson Cash Railway". It had been introduced to Australia by Mr Charles Kemp, "who arrived here last August with a skilled mechanic for the purpose of superintending the instalment of the apparatus in the leading business houses and of establishing agencies for it in the chief cities and towns of Australia. The new system is intended to do away with the cash-boy nuisance." The ball could be raised by elevators from one floor to another railway on the next. The apparatus was leased to users at the rate of £5 a year for each 'station' which sum covered all charges, including installation and repairs. The agent, Mr Kemp would direct the various agencies to be established throughout the various colonies. The Federal House Drapert Store in Hobart, Tasmania was fitted with a cash ball system and one wire line in February 1890, superintended by Mr A.H. Simmonds.

The Lamson Store Service Company at 234 Clarence Street, Sydney were selling bicycles made by the America Cycle Manufacturing Company in 1898. Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 19 Dec. 1898, p. 7

Lamson Engineering Australia Pty Ltd was established as a branch of its London parent in 1901. In 1936, 25 shares in the British company were held by Herbert Victor Prentice (manager) of 9/13 Queen Street, Sydney, NSW. The amalgamation of the Lamson Store Service Co. and Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co. into the Lamson Engineering Co. Ltd. in 1937 applied in Australia also. Argus (Melbourne) 10 Apr. 1937, p.20. It also took over the agencies for Dictograph Telephones and Acousticons from Dictograph Telephones Ltd. and General Acoustic Ltd. of London. The new company carried on the manufacture and installation of pneumatic tubes, overhead wire systems, letter chutes and heating, ventilating and air conditioning plants, etc. The Age (Melbourne), 10 APr. 1937, p. 35

Stanley Thomas Grigsley, 22-year-old secretary of the Lamson Store Service Company, was arrested and charged with larceny at the office at Rialto, Collins Street Melbourne in 1903. The Herald (Melbourne), 27 Nov. 1903, p. 3

In 1918 the Lamson Store Service Co. was advertising the 'Acousticon' - a kind of hearing aid (Stead's Review, 1 Jun. 1918, p. iii). Contact addresses were 105 Daking House, Sydney and 154 Olderfleet, Melbourne. The Capitol Theatre in Perth installed Lamson acousticons in 1931. Daily News (Perth), 22 May 1931, p. 8

The Engineering Agency Co. of 247 Sussex Street, Sydney installed the cash railway in the new branch of Grace Brothers in Parramatta in 1933 and advertised that they were "specialists in store service equipment - Rapid Wire and Pneumatic Tubes cash and docket systems." They had also supplied pneumatic tube equipment to the Postmaster-General's Department in 1929.

In 1951, the Lamson Engineering Co. at 78 Eagle Street, Brisbane was advertising for a young man to install cash tubes and inter-office telephones. Brisbane Telegraph, 16 Aug. 1951, p. 19. Three years later, the Adelaide office at 125 Adelaide Arcade, was advertising for youths to learn similar work. The Advertiser (Adelaide), 23 Jan. 1954, p. 19

New Zealand

Lamson's products were introduced to New Zealand by Mr E.G.Emery and Mr G.S. Brodrick, manager of the Dunedin Loan and Finance Company, was the agent. The first installation was at the D.I.C. (Drapery Importing Company) in Dunedin in May 1889. There were five cable systems in the Dominion in 1913 when the one in William Pettie & Co. of Gisborne was installed by Mr E.A. Linton of the Lamson Despatch Co.

The Lamson Despatch Company (NZ) was established in 1905. The representative engineer in 1906 was Mr Herbert C.Cambridge: he subsequently spent three years in Australia and returned in 1913. In 1918, Lamsons appealed before the Second Wellington Military Service Board for the exemption of Mr Cambridge, claiming that his retention was essential to the maintenance of pneumatic tube systems used in post offices (Dominion, 2 May 1918, p. 7). In 1932 it was offering a free trial of a new Model Acousticon for deafness, with an address at 31 Phoenix Chambers, Auckland.

Originally the head office was in Wellington but in 1963 it relocated to Auckland and a branch was established in Christchurch. In 2012 it was bought from Lamson Australia but retained the Lamson name and is now Lamson New Zealand.

Lamson (UK and Eastern Hemisphere)