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Locations - Michigan




ADRIAN. Metcalfs (dry goods). "At Metcalf's dry goods store in 1884 and A.B. Park's dry goods store in 1885 a new and interesting way of handling sales was installed. Both stores put in a cash railway system with long lines running up to the office." Charles N. Lindquist. Adrian, the city that worked: a history of Adrian, Michigan, 1825-2000. (Adrian: Lenawee County Historical Society, 2004) p. 89

ADRIAN. A.B. Parks (dry goods). See Metcalfs above.

ALMA. Pollasky Bros. (Bee Hive). An improved cash railway system will soon be put in place, having two depots in each division of the stores and centering in the office." Alma Record, 18 Feb. 1887, p. 1

ALPENA. I. Cohen "has installed an electric cash carrier system in his store... This is the first electric cash system installed in the city, and although put into operation only yesterday, is already attracting more than ordinary passing attention... When the visitor enters the store, his attention is almost imediately attracted by a low, quiet humming sound, which if it had not been accompanied by a rather distinct click, click, might well be compared to the warning tone which usually emanates from a busy bee hive... The system is composed of five distinct lines, or trolleys, one running from each department of the big store to the cashier'soffice on the second floor of the drygoods department. These five lines are equipped with 50 little carriers which, when dispatched, hurry along on their errand... An idea of how quick the service really is may be better understood from the experiment made by a News reporter this morning. Going down into the basement, a carrier was dispatched to the cashier's office, the little box returning in less than 30 seconds time. In the meantime it had traveled a distance of over 500 feet, was taken from the trolley, opened, and closed, and put back again. The system is propelled by a two-horse power dynamo on the second floor, supplied by a wire direct from the power house." Alpena Evening News, 18 Dec. 1902, p. 5

ALPENA. Greenbaum Bros. "They decided to utilize the basement floor... It has .. a modern cash carrier system... The department devoted entirely to ladies tailor made suits .. will also be equipped with latest cash carriers leading to the main office." Alpena Evening News, 9 Mar. 1900, p. 1

ALPENA. J. Sinclair "has put a new cash carrier system in his store, which at this time is the only one of its kind in the city. It is so constructed that the operator can control the carrier from either end of the line." Alpena Evening News, 23 Mar, 1900, p. 4

AMASA. Hematite Mercantile Co. "Mr. Walter Peterson of the Lamson Company of Minneapolis arrived this week to install the Lamson Cable Carrier System in the Hematite Mercantile Co. store." Diamond Drill (Crystal Falls), 17 Sep. 1921, p. 3

ANN ARBOR. Muehlig (dry goods), Main Street. "Bertha Muehlig received many honors in recognition of her services to the people of Ann Arbor... The store retained the interior decor and services of the beginning of the century, including a spring operated cash carrier system which was probably the last of its kind in the state." Ann Arbor Historic District Commission: Historic buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1992, p.106
• "[Bruno] St. James altered the street-level windows and installed an innovative spring-operated cash carrier to send money and sales slips to a cashier on the mezzanine at the back of the store. After St. James died in 1911, Bertha Muehlig bought the business." Ann Arbor Observer: Then and Now
• Originally Bach and Abel. "People from out of town were 'flabbergasted' at the old-time feel of the store and children were fascinated watching spring-loaded cash carrier whiz to the mezzanine and back." Ann Arbor Observer, June 1995

BAY CITY. Bay City cash store. Overhead wire system in mid-1950s. Steve Gorton

BAY CITY. Wendlands. Pneumatic tube system in mid-1950s. Steve Gorton

CHEBOYGAN. Penny & Frost's "new cash railway is in working operation." Cheboygan Democrat, 22 Sep. 1887, p. 8

CHELSEA. Vogel & Foster (dept. store), 107-109 Main Street. Originally H.S. Holmes. "An 1880’s state-of-the-art 'Lamson Cash Carrier' system ensured proper accounting from the registers. It utilized a basket on a cable pulley to take cash from the sales counters to the bookkeeping offices." Sun Times News website

CLARE. S.C.Kirkbride "has fitted up his new quarters in the Doherty block with unuaual elegance and comfort and will move therein Monday... In the rear right hand corner will be the office and cash desk, sufficiently elevated to command a perfect view of the entire room. Here will center the lines of the cash carrier system." Clare Sentinel, 23 Dec. 1892, p. 1

COLDWATER. J.B.Branch (dept. store), 34 West Chicago. "I was always amazed at the cash carriers... I will always remember that little brass cup that carried money from one area of the store to another." Northwoods Coffee website

CORUNNA. Leitner Bros. (dry goods). Paid $500 in settlement of an accident to a young lady who lost an arm in an accident with their cash carrier. Corunna Journal, 14 July 1904

DETROIT. Gray & Worcester, 139 Woodward Avenue. "Gray & Worcester's new store .. was formally opened to the public, Saturday morning... The Lamson cash carrier system has been installed throughout the establishment." Detroit Times, 1 May 1909, p. 4

DETROIT. J.L.Hudson Co. "She went to work for the J.L.Hudson Co. to help support her parents during the Depression. She worked in the tube room, where customers sent cash through pneumatic tubes for change and receipts." Detroit Free Press, 25 Aug. 2003
• "Pneumatic tube system. The tube system enabled Hudson's to provide quick service on all sales. It took only a few seconds for a carrier to travel from any department to the central desk, where charges and cash transactions were authorized by a staff of eight. From command central in the Third Basement, the system (initially installed in 1916 and later expanded) traveled up to the 17th Floor. The system was operated by one 120-horsepower and one 60-horsepower blower, both in the Third Basement. These blowers provided the pressure to operte 170 tubes (which handled 1,500 carriers) throughout the store." Marianne Weldon and Michael Hauser. Hudson's: Detroit's legendary department store. (Charleston SC: Arcadia, 2004) p.20 (caption)

DETROIT. Ernest Kern. The Ernest Kern Company Store is completely equipped with Lamson Pneumatic Tubes, Lamson Belt Type Central Desk, Lamson Belt Conveyors, and Lamson Delivery Bins, with Tilting Trays. There are 70 service stations on the main floor, so that every clerk is always within six feet of a station. Any clerk can use any station for any sale. By means of the new Lamson Belt Type Central Desk, the Kern Company can handle twice as much business as formerly, with the same staff of cashiers and authorizers... The Lamson Belt Conveyors carry merchanside quickly and safely from any part of the store to the Lamson Delivery Bins in the basement." Dry Goods Economist: Store Service and Equipment Section, 14 Feb. 1920, p. 117

DETROIT. Kinsels (drug store). "14,658 sales in a twenty-four hour day from floor space 57 X 44 feet are the figures; Kinsel's Drug Store, Detroit, is the store where they were made. Except for the cigar counter, all these sales were handled by Lamson Improved Service. Eight stations are serving about fifty sales clerks working in shifts, with a maximum of three cashiers required during the rush hours and on Saturdays to handle the money and sales slips... The service is so quick that change is returned to the most distant station in an average of twenty-six seconds. As soon as the merchandise is slipped into an envelope or wrapped, the change is ready to return to the customer... Any merchant .. can get the same good service through Lamson Pneumatic, Cable, or Wire Line Carriers... The Lamson Company, 100 Boylston, Boston, Mass." Dry Goods Review, Feb. 1921, p. 139

DETROIT. Lane Bryant, 1452 Farmer. "We need one cashier to take charge of the tube room and one assistant." Detroit Sunday Times, 18 Apr. 1943, p. 7

DETROIT. Saks Fifth Avenue Store. Grover pneumatic tube system. Grover Bulletin G

DETROIT. Henry A. Sarbinowski.Sarbinowski's store was divided into three departments: shoes, dry goods, ladies and men's furnishings... From where the cashier sat in a balcony, or Henry A. Sarbinowski when he relieved the cashier on duty, one could see at a glance three sections of the store. The cash was sent to the main office in small cylindrical tubes on overhead trolleys. This, though an efficient method at that time, is enough to date the store. By pulling a small handle on a cord, the clerk would send the cylindrical tube to the cashier, who removed the cash and sales slip, returning the change, if any. There were many of these "vehicles" to tend to. Rupert Conrad, Ruth Conrad and Clifford A. Bennett. The art and reflection of Rupert Conrad: the naked dawn. (New Tork: Cornwall, 1990) p.52

DETROIT. Elliott Taylor-Woolfenden, 165-169 Woodward Avenue. "Retail offices and the Lamson cash cable system were also given a place." Detroit Free Press, 7 May 1899, p.6
"Elliott Taylor Wolfenden Co. return from local cashiers to centralized service... 'We prefer three experienced cashiers near the office to twenty cashier inspectors about the store.' This is the way Mr. T.H. Whan .. sums up his reasons for installing Lamson cable carriers. Lamson Improved Service simplifies the supervision required by putting the cashiering and authorizing in one central place." Dry Goods Economist, 9 Apr. 1921. p. 68

IRONWOOD. O'Donnell-Seamens (dept store). "The installation of a pneumatic cash carrier tube system has been completed at the O'Donnell-Seamens department store. The new equipment, the first of its type in the Upper Peninsula, was installed by local workmen under the supervision of a company man." Ironwood Daily Globe, 23 Jun 1958, p.4, "20 years ago"

JACKSON. L.H. Field (dept. store), 201 W. Michigan Ave. "Beginning in 1916, cash and receipts from the store’s various counters were transported to the main office through an overhead cash system that used a railway and metal containers." Mlive website. In 1929, Field’s became part of the Hahn Department stores, which reorganized in 1933 to become part of Allied Stores Corp.

LANSING. Knapps store. Original store opened in early 1900s in Washington Avenue. By 1937 had moved to a new location. (Wikipedia). Pneumatic tube system. (Carrier offered on eBay, Apr. 2009) See Knapp, J.W. in References

LANSING. 'A merchant'. "A Lansing merchant runs his cash carrier by electricity, and a man gets his change back quick as lightning." Milford Times, 28 May 1898, p. 1

MOUNT PLEASANT (?) Hagans. "Next Wednesday Hagan & Co. will open their doors in a splendid building being built for them... On an elevated platform is the office and cashier's desk, connected with a cash carrier system with nine stations." Isabella County Enterprise, 28 Oct. 1910, p. 4

MOUNT PLEASANT (?) Pollansky Bros. have added a merchants' cash railway to their handsome store fixtures, which works like a charm." Isabella County Enterprise, 15 Apr. 1887, p. 5

MOUNT PLEASANT (?) Smith & Gow. "In this attractive store we saw for the first time the Lamson cash railway system... It's a good thing for store keepers but death to the 'cash boys'. Isabella County Enterprise, 23 Apr. 1994, p. 1

starNEGAUNEE. Lowenstein (dept. store) 334 Iron St. Built in 1916 by Joseph Lowenstein. "A whole network of wire baskets accessing the entire 6,000 square foot retail floor". The cashier sat in the 'Crow's Nest' - a little balcony built onto the wall. After the death of the last remaining Lowenstein son/daughter, the building was purchased by Don and Anne Michelsen as a music shop. Part is now an antiques market. Also photograph on Flickr.

OWOSSO. D.M.Christian. "D.M.Christian has placed the Lamson electric cable cash carrier system in his store this week. An endless cable is kept running by an electric motor all the time and carries the cash boxes to the cashier's desk." Owosso Times, 29 May 1896, p. 7

PIGEON. A. Hirshberg & Son. "The new store of A. Hirshberg & Son at Pigeon is undoubtedly the best arranged and most complete... The establishment has a thoroughly metropolitan air from the spacious shop windows .. to the cashier's desk where the cash carrier system ends." Huron County Republican, 1901 - photograph of interior but not very clear.

PONTIAC. J. S. Stockwell & Co. "have put in a cash carrier, a very ingenious arrangement which runs a car containing a bill of goods and cash over a wire from the front of the store to the office in the rear, in about six seconds. It is quite an innovation for a Pontiac establishment, but it would seem a very good one." Pontiac Bill Poster, 6 May 1885, p. 1

SAGINAW. J.W.Ippel (dry goods), Court & Michigan. Moved into building in 1905. "The dry goods store had wooden floors and overhead tracks that made a clicking sound throughout the store. Along the tracks ran cash cars carrying sales receipts and money to the office. The cash car then returned to the sales clerk and customer with change. In 1948 the system was replaced with pneumatic tubes. The building was destroyed by fire on January 29, 2002. Roberta Morey: Saginaw in vintage postcards (Charleston, SC:Arcadia, 2004)

SAGINAW. Morley Bros. "I can still see the money, and the bill whooshing through the pneumatic tube to the cashier's office in Morley Brothers." Conovercourt posting to Urban Ohio Forum, 29/9/08

SALINE. Humphreys. "Grocer Humphrey is bound to be at the front, his latest is a Davis cash railway system, which looks quite city like." Saline Observer, 20 APr. 1893, p. 5

YPSILANTI. Bazarette (Stewart and Moore). "Messrs Stewart and Moore have purchased a fine cash railway system for the Bazarette." (Quoting fifty years ago.) Ypsilanti Daily Press, 19 Oct. 1942, p. 4

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