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Locations - Illinois

There were at least three cash ball systems in Chicago by 1882. In one report the patent was said to be held by Zephanaih M. Holbrook. A parcel carrier was already foreseen then.



LeBaron & Miller, Freeport

Marshall Field, Chicago

AURORA. Jamieson, Cooper & Co. "The new Lamson Cable Cash system was one of the great attractions at the opening. It is run by electricity and does its work to perfection. From the farthest point in the large stores, which is the grocery department in the basement salesroom, change can be made to the customers in just 24 seconds. it travels 12 feet a second." Huntly Express, 1 Dec. 1894, p. 5

CHAMPAIGN. Blums Inc. Lamson pneumatic tube system. Lamson brochure, 1952

CHAMPAIGN. Lewis (dept store). "Lewis' and Willis' had the "tracks" to send your money to the office and the change came back the same way." Champaign High School Lendales website

CHAMPAIGN. Willis (dept store). See above.

CHICAGO. Armour & Co. "Over fifty places of business in Chicago are supplied with the Lamson carriers, including the stores of Armour & Co., John W. Goetz & Co., the City of Paris, W.T. Moore & Co., Willoughby, Hill & Co., Mandel Bros., Wilson Bros., C. W. & E. Partridge, and C.H. Slock [sic]." Half-century's progress of the city of Chicago. (Chicago: International Publishing Co., 1887), p. 291

CHICAGO. A bookseller's. "Samson's [sic] cash Railway in a bookseller's shop; very ingenious machine; money is placed in a ball, it is then hoisted , and runs on lines to the cashier and returns with the change in another ball." Caernarvon & Denbigh Herald, 26 Jul. 1884, p. 8

CHICAGO. J. M. Carroll & Co. Baldwin carrier. Advertisement in Merchant's Record and Shop Window, Feb. 1913, p.1

CHICAGO. Carson, Pirie & Co. "It [cash railway] has been in use for a year." Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel, 1 Aug. 1882

CHICAGO. City of Paris store. "Among the heaviest users [of Lamson carriers]." Lowell Courier, ? Oct 1883.
See also CHICAGO. Armour above.

CHICAGO. Clapp. "Mr Clapp has an electric cash railway in his store, which is the best evidence of his enterprise as a business man. The house is substantial and transacts a large business." Daily Inter Ocean, 24 Jan. 1885, p.9

CHICAGO. Clark & Barlow (hardware), Lake Street. Baldwin Flyer system before the building was razed for the State of Illinois building. Documentary film (8 mins, 16 mm) in collection of Chicago Historical Society. Business dates back to 1894 and moved to River North in 1980.
• System was reinstalled for show at their new location on Orleans. Worthpoint website

CHICAGO. Seigel Cooper. "Seigel Cooper, Chicago, displaced pneumatic tubes." (Advertisement for National Cash Register Co.) Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 3 Nov. 1911, p. 20

CHICAGO. Dieden Bros., Lincoln/Western Aves. "We cannot speak too highly of the 18 'Gipe' Cash and Package Carriers that were installed by your company... The Gipe system is unquestionably the last word of store perfection for appearance and efficiency of service." Merchants Record, May 1915, p. 4

CHICAGO. Gateley's. "Gateley's in Chicago had them [pneumatic tubes]." Janice Condon Jacobson in posting to Facebook

CHICAGO. John W. Goetz & Co. See CHICAGO. Armour above,

CHICAGO. Fred Griesheimer, Madison/Halster Streets. "Lamson cash system." Dziennik Chicagoski, 11 Mar. 1895, p. 4

CHICAGO. Helbing's (dept store), 105th and Ewing. "Overhead trolley baskets that would transport cash from various departments to the cashier's desk up front". South East Historical Scoiety News, vol. 16, no. 2 (Oct. 2002)

CHIGAGO. Krause (dept. store), Logan Square area. "Used to be one [pneumatic tube system] in Krause dept store." Lawrence Romanowicz in posting to Facebook

CHICAGO. I. Magnin. The Newark Department Store in Newark, DE had a pneumatic tube system for payments and receipts .. as did the I. Magnin's in Chicago--on Michigan Ave., across from Water Tower Place. It was well into the [19]80s. Project-Wombat-Open mailing list, 13/3/12

CHICAGO. Louvre Dry Goods Store. "The girls employed at the Southwest Division Louvre dry-goods store forget .. the wearing click of the cash trolley." George Ade. In Babel: stories of Chicago (New York: Mc Clure, Phillips, 1903) p. 195

CHICAGO. Mandel Bros. "The Lamson Cash Railway company received two important orders for the system Saturday... The other is from Mandal [sic] Bros. of Chicago and will call for 80 stations." Lowell Daily Courier, 13 Jul. 1885, p.8

CHICAGO. Marshall Field, State and Washington Streets. "It [cash carrier] has been in use for a year." Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel, 1 Aug. 1882
• Pneumatic tube system installed in 1893. (Pasermadjian). Photo of Helen Sarros, "queen of the mighty basement console", working the new system in Chicago Sun-Times, 26 Nov. 1947
• "In the retail establishment there are some 3,000 men and women employed behind the counters, and sixty pneumatic tubes, running all over the building, carry cash and bring back change with lightning-like rapidity." Bunyip (Gawler, SA), 3 Aug. 1894, p. 4
• "A pneumatic cash carrier system was installed for the first time in the new 1902 building. " Chicago Dry Goods Reporter, 11 Oct. 1902, p.35 in Robert W. Twyman History of Marshall Field & Co. 1852-1906. (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1954) p.200
• Baldwin carrier according to advertisement in Merchant's Record, Feb. 1913, p.1

CHICAGO. W.T. Moore & Co. See CHICAGO. Armour above,

CHICAGO. W. & E. Partridge. See CHICAGO. Armour above,

CHICAGO. Petersen Furniture Co., 1046-56 Belmont Ave. "We have used your carriers for six months and have found them very efficient." Merchants Record, May 1915, p. 4

CHICAGO. Schesinger & Mayer, N.E. corner of State and Madison Streets. "Many difficulties were encountered in shifting and readjusting the .. cash conveyor tubes ." Carol R. Bolon. The nature of Frank Lloyd Wright. Papers presented at a symposium organised to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988) p. 165

CHICAGO. Sea, Willoughby, Hill & Co. "[From Chicago Tribune.] The ingenuity of the American inventor is daily exemplified at Sea's store on State street in the operation of Lamson's patent automatic cash carrier, an arrangement which does away with the cash boys and girls. Each clerk in the store has a hollow wooden ball marked with a number. These balls open in the center by one twist... THe balls are of different sizes, the smallest belonging to the clerks at the greatest distance from the cashier's desk... The patent on the arrangement was allowed in December last, and was adopted by Mr. Sea about a month ago... It .. will soon be introduced in a number of other Chicago stores by the gentleman who controls the patent, Z.M. Holbrook, formerly a Congregational minister in this city. What is now needed is something to deal with parcels after a similar fashion, and it is beleived that it will soon be forthcoming." Memphis Daily Appeal, 19 Feb. 1882, p. 1
"It has been in use for a year." Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel, 1 Aug. 1882

CHICAGO. Sears, Lawrence Avenue. "On November 2, 1925, Sears opened two new retail stores, one on Lawrence Avenue, and the other on 79th Street in Chicago. Today, these two stores represent the oldest, continuously operated stores in the Sears retail store system. Both stores were built under the old style model of retail stores. They were two story [sic] buildings... Money and receipts were sent from the sales floor to the office via pneumatic tubes." Sears Archives website. The earlier mail-order business had a pneumatic tube system in 1906. Capsule Pipelines website. There is a photograph of "Part of tube central for service at Sears, Roebuck & Co., Chigago" in Story of a Service Idea, 1912.

CHICAGO. Sears, 79th Street. See CHICAGO. Sears above.

CHICAGO. C.H. Slack. See CHICAGO. Armour above.

CHICAGO. Andrew S. Thomas. Baldwin carrier. Advertisement in Merchant's Record and Shop Window, Feb. 1913, p.1

CHICAGO. Willoughby, Hill & Co. See CHICAGO. Armour above.

CHICAGO. Wilson Bros. See CHICAGO. Armour above,

DANVILLE. Gelinos. "The claimant [Lamson Company] .. agrees to furnish to the bankrupt .. installed in its store, a Preferred Cable Cash System, to be held and used for a term of ten years .. the cost of installation and the value of the use being fixed at partial payments of $63 per quarter." In re Gelino's, 43 F.2d832 (1930), District Court, E.D. Illinois

DECATUR. Arcade Department Store, 123-137 North Main Street. "The store is equipped with the new and improved Lamson Cable Carrier System, the only one in operation in this part of the state. Running through the entire three rooms to a central cash station... It will interest man, woman and child... Marvellous mechanical contrivance." Decatur Daily Review, 14 Sep. 1904, p.5

DECATUR. Linn & Scruggs. "Yesterday afternoon the Bostedo Package and Cash Carrier system was put in use at the establishment of the Lin & Scruggs Dry Goods and Carpet company." Daily Review (Decatur), 19 Feb. 1893, p.5. Suffered a major fire in 1914 but rebuilt.

DIXON. A.W.IJotTmaun (dry goods). "Workmen are today replacing the Acme cash railway system in the A.W.IJotTmaun dry goods store." Dixon Evening Telegraph, 4 Oct. 1889, p.2 [The copy is not clear.]

DOWNERS GROVE. McAllister. "McAllister's Department Store was for clothing, underwear, socks and yard goods. But the overhead pneumatic tube was the most fascinating thing to watch. When a sale was made, the clerk sent the canister flying up to the office on the second floor where some unknown presence made change and "shot" it back down to the counter where the customer was chatting with the clerk." Downers Grove Public Library website

ELGIN. Joseph Speiss. Pneumatic system with magnetic separator. Lamson advertisement in Chain Store Age, June 1949

ELGIN. Theodore F. Swan. "He was the first to introduce the cashier in Elgin, departing from the practice of each clerk making change... His was the first department store in Elgin to install the cash railway system... This was put in when his store was on Fountain square and continued some ten years ago when he moved to his present location in the Spurling." Elgin today: historical, descriptive, biographical. (Elgin: Lowrie & Black, 1903), p. 196

ERIE. Burchell. "Robert L. Burchell, dealer in dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, hats and caps, notions, groceries and queensware... In 1868 he came to Erie and opened a dry-goods store... He employs in his store eight clerks and a bookkeeper, and has put in the Lampson [sic] Cash Railway System." Portrait & biographical album of Whiteside County, Illinois (Chicago: Chapman, 1885)

starFREEPORT. E & W [Ennenga & Wagner] Clothing House, 9 W.Main Street. "Before the days of cash registers in stores, money was put in a cup, then clipped to a wire and propelled to a cashier's desk usually on a balcony of a store. E & W had such a constant running track. Then the money was put in a cup and sent upstairs to where the boys department was. Here the cashier would take care of the money and send the change back in the cup. Tom Ennenga described his cash carrier as 'a sling shot-driven carrier with rollers on a wire'. His system was in use from before 1920 until the store closed the last day of July in 1990." Zoominfo website
• The store is now LeBaron & Miller Interiors. In 2008 the Baldwin Flyer was unpacked, renovated, and re-erected. Photographs - also in Journal-Standard (Freeport) , 12/10/08.

GALESBURG. O.T.Johnson (dept. store). Pneumatic tube system. Email from Lawrence Martin, 5/1/02.

KEWANEE. C.A.Shilton (dry goods: boots, shoes and notions). Corner of Third and Tremont Streets. Two-wire system (Air-Line? - though mentions a "strong steel spring"). "There was one station at the head of the right counter and one at the head of the left and two more in the shoe department and a couple midway in the establishment and possibly one at the head of the long stairs." Earle A.Shilton. Boots, shoes and notions. (Chicago Literary Club, 1955) p.14

LASALLE. Blakely ( dept. store). Basket system. (Joliet Public Library website)

McLEANSBORO. Grand Leader store. "They have the National cash register and Barr cash carrier systems." McLeansboro Illustrated, 25 May 1900 (special supplement to the McLeansboro Times)

MINONK. Vissering Mercantile Exchange. Pneumatic tube system. Mononktalk website

MOUNT VERNON. Mammoth. "The Mammoth had a cool pneumatic tube that would take your money and send it to the banker, kind of like Deal or no Deal... It would poof back to you with the correct change and green stamps." On the QT blogspot
• "The money tubes and the beautiful staircase at the Mammoth Department Store." Facebook: Jefferson County Historical Society

OLNEY. J.C.Penney. "In the JC Penney's store, a cashier sat high on a balcony. All counters had a wire and spring gearing mechanism with leather pouches that telescoped to enclose change. The clerk would enclose the cash and sales slip in a pouch and trigger it to the cashier." Olney Memories blog

OTTAWA. Forbes & Flick. "When in their new store Forbes & Flick will use the 'Lamson Cash Delivery', a new device for the transmission of change to the cashier's desk and return." Ottawa Free Trader, 18 Aug. 1883, p. 1

PANA. The Leader. "New fixtures are being put in the hat and men's furnishing goods departments of "The Leader", Pana, Ill., and the firm will use an overhead wire system for handling the cash." Clothier and Furnisher, 1887?, p.45

PEORIA. Schipper & Block. "Schipper & Block's store fixtures for sale... One Lamson cable system; one Lamson basket carrier system; 36 stations." Minneapolis Journal, 18 Oct. 1905, p. 16

QUINCY. Carsons. "Saw them [pneumatic tubes] in Carson's in Quincy when a boy." Bob Huntmacher on Facebook

QUINCY. Tenk (hardware). Lamson Air-Line system. Photograph in Lamson brochure shows cash desk in the centre of a long narrow store.

ROCK ISLAND. McIntire & Co. havejust put in Lamson's system of cash railway which facilitates business greatly. There are five stations. The Argus, 20 Oct. 1885, p. 4

ROCKFORD. A. C. Deming. "Enclosed find draft to pay for the twelve station package carrier service which you instaled in my store." Merchants Record, Jun. 1915, p. 2

STERLING. Martin & Kintzle, 390 Third Street. "We .. shall give the citizens of Sterling and vicinity an opportunity to see the famous Lamosn [sic] Cash Railway in full operation in Our Store on Saturday Aug. 4th. Comeone Come all and see for yourselves this great invention carrying cash quietly, surely, promptly and corectly [sic]." Tampico Tornado, 4 Aug. 1883, p. 1

STREATOR. Cooperative Society. "We employ .. eight clerks in the store and two teamsters to deliver goods, and have lately put in a patent cash-carrier." Amos G. Warner: Three phases of cooperation in the west. Publications of Amer. Econ. Ass. 2(1) 1887, p.78

WALNUT. Burchell Bros. "He employs in his store eight clerks and a bookkeeper, and has put in the Lampson Cash Railway System." Tampico Historical Society website


starindicates systems which are still there (as far as I know) though they may not be working.