THE CASH RAILWAY WEBSITE
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Including the states of Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin. Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and Minnesota have their own pages.
ALBION, Neb. J.C. Penney. "When customers purchased items from J. C. Penney stores with balconies—such as stores in Albion, Falls City, Fremont, Kearney, or Scottsbluff—the sales clerk would take the customer’s money and place it with a bill of sale, inside a closed container attached to a cable line. The container would then be cabled up to the balcony overlooking the sales floor, where another associate would retrieve the cash before sending the container back down with a receipt and correct change." Nebraska History blog
APPLETON, Wis. Geenens (dry goods). "A new cable cash system is being installed to give service." Appleton Post Crescent, 17 June 1927, p.1
ASHTABULA, Oh. Carlisle-Allen (dept store), Progress Place. "The cash system was a Lamson pneumatic tube system with the tubes concealed in the false ceiling between the floors." E.Schaeffer: Ashtabula people and places (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2005), p.73
BEATRICE, Neb. William Wiebe. "For sale at once... 8 Lamson rapid and two air line cash carrier stations... Reason for selling, have gone out of the retail dry goods business." Omaha Daily Bee, 27 Jul. 1915
BROOKINGS, S.Dak. Penneys. "Penneys .. was then where Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness is now. In 1958, a Penney's clerk took the $10 bill I handed her, stuffed it in a little metal cup rigged to overhead wires and tracks, pulled a launching lanyard and sent it zipping off to a trusted cashier somewhere in the store's ether." Stubble Mulch website
BUTLER, Mo. Levey's (clothing store). Shop opened in 1876 and closed in 2003. Lamson wire system installed in 1906 and there until the shop closed. Carrier has "R-488" stamped on it. Re-erected in museum at Adrian. (T.Hall)
CAINSVILLE, Mo. G.R.Wilson. In 1904. G. R. Wilson and son erected a commodious two story building on the N.E. corner of the square. The lower floor was occupied by the G R. Wilson and Son Dry Goods and was modern in every respect and equipped with a cash carrier system, very new to Cainsville. Harrison County Bicentennial History, 1976
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. Bartels Merc. Co., 430 Broadway. "A new Lamson carrier, or cash exchange system, operating from a central office, was placed in use today at the Bartels Merc. Co. store... To facilitate the operation of the system the store's office has been moved from the main floor to a space on the mezzanine. Southeast Missourian, 14 Jun. 1939, p. 6
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. Buckner Ragsdale. "I remember the wire trolley cash cups... The cash and price ticket was put in a cup, twisted to a metal cap, pull a rope to latch to the always traveling wire rope trolley, the cashier would make change and send back. No money on the floor, no cash drawers to balance with the staff below!" Don Neumeyer in posting to Cape Girardeau website, 23/12/11
CARTHAGE, Mo. Millers (men's clothing) Town Square. Basket system from early 1900s to 1970s. Gene Davidson
CENTRALIA, Wis. Johnson, Hill & Co. "The celebrated Barr Cash Carrier, which has been in satisfactory use at Johnson, Hill & Co.'s former store during the past two years, has also been put into their new store. The new machine has six carriers - one from each counter and all leading to the cashier's desk in the rear of the center of the building." Centralia Enterprise and Tribune, 14 Nov. 1891, p.11
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. The New York Store, 501 Locust. Overhead cash carriers. Shop had 60-odd departments. Livingstone County History website
COLUMBIA, Mo. Kress Wholesale Company, 1025 E. Broadway. Built in 1910 to serve as a Kress 'Five and Ten Cent' store. Remodelled ca. 1946 for the Mehomay Furniture Co. "The office and cashier stations were located in a balcony near the back of the showroom. As was the case for many of the stores in the area at that time, the Kress store used a 'Lamson' system, which involved having sales clerks send cash up to the cashiers in small containers attached to wires. The cashiers would make the required change and send the cup back down to the floor." U.S. Department of the Interior. National register of historic places
CORINTH, Mo. Rubel (dept. store), corner of Fillimore and Cruise Streets. Built in 1873-4 and demolished in spring 1961. "Proceeding through the first floor of the store, a child would next notice the wire baskets with leather pouches holding sales tickets and cash flying overhead suspended on a wire network which carried them to the second floor. The 'central cashier' handles the transactions, making change and returning the baskets to the clerks below." Corinth information database
DELAVAN, Wis. Bradley's department store. "A small old-fashioned hometown department store... The store first used a pulley cashier system. The office was on a balcony between the first and second floors." Gazette Extra (Janesville), 23/9/02
DEVILS LAKE, N. Dak. Stoughton & Chamberlin. "Stoughton & Chamberlin have recently put in the Lamson cash railway system." Devils Lake Inter-ocean, 7 Apr. 1888, p. 1
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. Farmer Store. "The popular department store at that time [1940s] was The Farmer Store, which had the old pneumatic tube system that took your money from one floor to the other." Downtown Eau Clare business retention and recruitment
EVANSVILLE, Wis. Grange Store, 19 West Main Street. "The balcony held the millinery, coat and suit departments as well as the office. An overhead cash carrier system was installed between the main floor and the bookkeeping office. Many a child and probably some adults stood watching in wonder as the tubes carrying money and sales slips traveled along the overhead cables." Evansville History website
FALL CREEK, Wis. Mercantile. Pneumatic tube system. "Grannie Annie" posting to Homespun-L, 18 Jan. 02
FALLS CITY, Neb. J.C. Penney. See ALBION: J.C. Penney
FARGO, N.Dak. De Lendrecie's (dept. store). "It was a relic of the 19th century, even in 1966 - the two-story atrium with the mezzanine, the pneumatic tubes whizzing metal pills through tubes, landing in the basket with a whoosh and a plonk." The Bleat website, 1997. Built in 1889 and now offices. "The hiss and thump of a message arriving via pneumatic tube." James Lileks, A rich boyhood in the plain void. American Enterprise, July/Aug. 2004, p.31. Air tubes installed in 1930. Sold to Mercantile Stores Co. in 1955 and moved in 1972. In-Forum website
FARGO, N.Dak. Herbst, 16 Broadway. (New building opened in 1898.) Cable system shown in 1915 photograph of showroom. Trista Raezer and John Hallberg. Herbst Department Store. (Images of America) Charleston SC: Arcadia, 2015, p. 23
FARGO, N.Dak. Moodys, Broadway. "I remember the little cages that carried the money on wires up to the business office for change. I recall the clicking quite clearly." The business moved to the Front Street location at the foot of Broadway in 1884. Moody sold the business in 1940 and in 1961 it became Sgutt-Moodys. The building was razed in 1966. In-Forum 7 Aug. 2004.
FOND DU LAC, Wis. Ediths, 9 South Main Street. Pneumatic tube system still there in 2004. M.Bennett
FOND DU LAC, Wis. Fitzsimmons & Sons (shoe store). "Extensive improvements are about to be made at the M. Fitzsmmons & Sons shoe store... The plan is to extend the store west to include the room now occupied as a barber shop, making the total length of the store 105 feet... The entire first floor is to be used by M. Fitzsimmons & Sons as their retail sales parlors. The cashier’s desk and wrapping desk will be located upon an elevated platform in the rear of the store. A cash carrier system will also be installed." Shoe retailer and Boots and Shoes Weekly, 1905, vol. 53, p.75. (It sounds as though this may have been a parcel carrier too.)
FREMONT, Neb. J.C. Penney. See ALBION: J.C. Penney
GREEN BAY, Wis. Cohens, corner of Jefferson and Main Streets. "Pneumatic tubes that whisked the sales slip and customer's money up to the balcony in the back." Green Bay Press-Gazette, 11 Apr. 2004
HEBRON, N.Dak. Hebron Historical and Art Society, Lincoln Avenue & South Park Street. "We have many unique items such as .. a Lamson cash carrier demonstration." [It is not stated in what way this is unique.] North Dakota tourism website
INDIANOLA, Oh. G.E.Johnson (formerly Barker & Johnson). "His is the largest concern of the kind in Warren County and the store is most modern in all of its appointments. It is steam heated, has a cash carrier system and its counters and showcases are attractive and up-to-date." IAGenWeb website
IOLA, Kan. New York Store, Southwest Cor. Square. "Our new store will have all the modern improvements - cash carrier system." Iola Register, 7 Oct. 1898, p.8
JAMESTOWN, N.D. Pearce & Orlady. "Manager Bennett of the Lamson Store Service Co., of Minneapolis, was in the city yesterday superintending the placing of a new cash carrier system in the big store of Pearce & Orlady. It is a complete device and has stations in nearly every part of the store." Jamestown Weekly Alert, 18 Apr. 1895, p. 7
JANESVILLE, Wis. Chicago Store. See JANESVILLE: F.S.Winslow below.
JANESVILLE, Wis. T.L.Kelly & Co. "The elevated cash railway in full and active operation. No more noise and confusion of cash boys. Order and system prevailing in every department. Goods delivered to purchasers in about half the time required by the old system." Janesville Daily Gazette, 2 Nov. 1882, p.2
JANESVILLE, Wis. New York Store. See JANESVILLE: F.S.Winslow below.
JANESVILLE, Wis. F.S.Winslow. "When the cash railway is put up and the trio [?] of electric lights shine out from the front and interior of his store, F.S.Winslow will have a place that is very well arranged for doing a large business." Janesville Daily Gazette, 14 Oct. 1886, p.4
JASPER, Mo. Conrad Mercantile Co. "The Conrad Mercantile Co. and R.L. Roberts and Son will install in a few days the Lawson [sic] Air-Line Cash Car, a cash carrier system that is in use in many up-to-date business houses." Jasper News, 7 Nov. 1912, p. 8
JASPER, Mo. R.L. Roberts & Son. See JASPER. Conrad Mercantile Co.
JOPLIN, Mo. Newmans (dept. store). Opened 1910. Postcard photographs of millinery and men's clothing departments with basket system on Missouri Digital Heritage website
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Bullene, Moore, Emery &
Co. ( "dry goods palace"), 11th, Grand Avenue and Walnut Street. "This
store threw open its doors to the public this morning... Undoubtedly the most
most novel feature in the fixtures of the store is the pneumatic tube system
used for conveying the cash from one department to the central station... There
are thirty-five stations in the building, one for each department. The clerk
puts the cash ticket and the money in a little brass cup which fits the tube,
and placing the cup in the mouth of the tube it is sucked up through the opening
and almost before she can wink the money drops out of the other end, at the
central station, where the necessary change is made, put back in the cup and
again whisked through the tube to the station from which it came. This all can
be done in less than a minute of time from any part of any floor to the central
City Star, 22 Sept. 1890. The store closed in 1968.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Jones. "Mrs Noland worked at the Jones Store in Kansas City as a cashier in the Pneumatic Tube Room." Holton Recorder website
KANSAS CITY, Mo. The Model (clothiers, shoers, hatters and furnishers), 10th and Main Streets. "Midway between the first and second floors the cashier's desk is situated, to which run six tracks of cash cable system, one from each floor." Kansas City Journal, 8 Sep. 1895, p.5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Owl Drug Store. Wire system. Photograph at All Posters website.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. George B. Peck Dry Goods Co., Main Street. Until 1901 was Doggett Store Co. "Before the store installed overhead wires carrying baskets with purchase and money, young boys and girls were employed to run with these items to a central cashier." Store closed 1964. Kansas City Times, 12 Sep. 1970
KANSAS CITY, Mo. John Taylor's Dry Goods Co. Overhead wire basket system. Taylors was founded in 1881 and taken over by Macys in 1947. Kansas City Times, 24 March 1978. Postcard showing silk department at Kansas City Library website.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Weavers. "From the pneumatic tube system it uses to process transactions to the chief executive who goes by Joe, everything in Weaver's 140-year history speaks of traditional, high-quality customer service." Kansas City Star, 8 Sep. 1998, p. D1
KEARNEY, Neb. J.C. Penney. See ALBION: J.C. Penney
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. Doneghy. "The Doneghy house was the pioneer cash house in Kirksville... As time went on the cash boy was discarded and the cash railway system that quietly and rapidly does the work of half a dozen boys took his place." Weekly Graphic, 27 Feb. 1891
LINCOLN, Neb. Famous (?) "For sale - Three station air line, cash and package carrier at the Famous corner 13th and O." Nebraska State Journal, 16 Nov. 1910, p.11
LINCOLN, Neb. Herpolsheimer & Co. "Our pneumatic tube system will be in operation in a short time." Courier (Lincoln), 16 Apr. 1898, p.7
LINCOLN, Neb. Ruge and Gundells (dept. store). "She worked after school during high school as a cashier in the basement (money tubes were sent down for change, and she sent the money back to the store floor)." Ancestry.com website
McCOOK, Neb. Brown McDonald. "We always hoped her shopping would take her to the J.C. Penney store, the Brown McDonald Store and DeGroff's Department Store... These three stores had what was called a 'Rapid Wire System' that was used in making change for a customer's purchase." Jeanne Boyle Oldweiler. The ant hill challenge: a collection of stories about growing up in southwestern Nebraska during the 1940s and 1950s. (Bloomington IN: AuthorHouse, 2008) p.106. [In the USA they were more likely to be an Air-Line system.]
McCOOK, Neb. DeGroff (dept. store). See McCOOK. Brown McDonald.
McCOOK, Neb. J.C. Penney. See McCOOK. Brown McDonald.
MADISON, Wis. Baron Bros (dept. store) "We have
used the Baldwin Flyer for the past ten years or better and are very much satisfied
with the service it has given us." Testimonial in Baldwin advertisement,
MEXICO, Mo. "The store downtown that had the track system in it that you put your money into a small carrier and it took it by track to the upstairs office, and your change was sent back to you the same way." Audrain County Historical Society website
MILLERSBURGH, Ohio. Mayers (dry goods merchants). "Various departments of general dry goods, carpets, cloaks, millinery, groceries .. all fitted out with cash-railways". RootsWeb website
MILWAUKEE, Wis. Milway, 3801 Juneau Ave . "Catalogue outlet store with guide wires overhead whizzing (cash?) containers of something to someone else in the store." Retro Milwaukee website
MILWAUKEE, Wis. Gimbels, Mayfair. Opened 1958. "Pneumatic tubes were used to make change for the cash registers." Paul H. Geenen. Schuster's & Gimbels: Milwaukee's beloved department stores. (Charleston SC: History Press, 2012) p. 67
MILWAUKEE, Wis. James Morgan, Third Street and Grand Avenue. "The furnishing of the store was completed when the Lamson cable cash system was put in. It is operated by steam and is probably the most complete of any now in use. Mr. Morgan stated .. that his firm was undoubtedly the first in the state to use it. In its operation miniature cars carry the change upon a runway of wire cables." Milwaukee Journal, 10 Apr. 1893, p.2
MILWAUKEE, Wis. J.C.Penney. "At 6 tonight.. the Downtown J.C.Penney store permanently closes its doors... There were no cash registers at its counters until it was remodelled in 1961. Instead, clerks wrote out sales slips for every purchase and sent them, by pneumatic tube, to a central cashier in the basement who made change." Milwaukee Journal, 30 Dec. 1983, p.5
MILWAUKEE, Wis. Rich & Silber. "Among the heaviest users [of Lamson carriers]." Lowell Courier, ? Oct 1883
MILWAUKEE, Wis. Schusters, ?Mitchell Street. Pneumatic tube system in 1930s. Don's Depot website
MINOT, N.D. Martin Jacobson has installed a new cash carrier system in his hardware store. Minot Optic, 26 Aug. 1904
MINOT, N.D. McCoy (dept. store). Paul V. McCoy ... will soon install a cash carrier system." Ward County Independent, 28 Dec. 1911, p. 5
MISSOULA, Mont. Valley Mercantile Co. "The Lamson Store Service company of Seattle is installing a trolley cash system in the Valley Mercantile company store that will make the place more metropolitan than ever. Mr. Jack of Seattle is installing the system." Daily Missoulian, 1 Dec. 1912, p. 3
MITCHELL, S.D. Letcher. "Letcher & Co. have moved into their new store on the old corner and have one of the finest extablishments in the west, with .. the patent Lamson cash system." Mitchell Capital, 27 Nov. 1885, p. 6
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. The Leader. "The cable cash carrier at The Leader was completed yesterday and placed in service." North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune, 17 Oct. 1916, p.1
OMAHA, Neb. Brandeis. "One of my earliest memories is shopping with my mother at the alrge Brandeis department store in Omaha, Nebraska, and watching that money get put in a tube and whooshed away to some place out of sight. We would wait with our cashier until the carrier reappeared with our receipt and change." Old Stuff website
OMAHA, Neb. Burgess-Nash. Pneumatic tube system with charge authorisers' station. Lamson advertisement in Credit World, vol. 10, no.7, 1922, p.2 with photograph.
OMAHA, Neb. Eiseman, Rodda & Co. "The dry goods house of Eiseman, Rodda & Co., will be greatly improved as soon as the summer dull season comes on... Yesterday [they] were contracting for Lamson's cash railway." Omaha Daily Bee, 3 Jul. 1885, p.6
ST LOUIS, Mo. Meyer. "At Broadway and Washington, auction sale of entire fixtures, etc., of the Meyer store, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 1904 ... air line cash carriers. St Louis Republic, 21 Feb. 1904, part III, p. 5
ST LOUIS, Mo. Penny & Gentles, 5th Street and Franklin Avenue. "We observe from a copy of the St Louis Daily Globe Democrat a long description of what is called the 'Lamson Automatic Cash Carrier System', which they style as 'A Decided Novelty', and calculated to do away entirely with cash boys in large business establishments. The description in question alludes to one of the 'cash carriers' now in operation at the store of Penny & Gentles... This is the first one that has been put up in the city of St Louis... The scheme has an upper and a lower track, each consisting of two rails of hardwood about three quarters of an inch square and a few inches apart. The tracks are used to carry wooden balls to and from the cashier's desk... The rails have narrow strips of leather tacked on their upper inner corner, so that the ball may run noiselessly... Upon the inside of each portion of the ball there is a tin disk, with a spiral spring beneath it, both of which press toward the middle, and thus keep the centre of gravity of the ball where it properly belongs when money is placed in it, otherwise the balls would not roll evenly. There can be as many as seven different sizes of balls, but at Penny & Gentles there are but two... Each track can have from one to seven stations, and where there is more than one station some method must of course be provided to have each ball stop just where it should. A very ingenious device performs this service. At each station there is a detached portion of track about eighteen inches long, which is held on a pivot about one-third of its length from the rear end... The 'cash carrier' just put up at Penny & Gentle's possesses a feature not in use at any other store in the country. It is a switch system. It operates on the same plan as the switches in use on street railroads, only the balls themselves turn the switches... The balls turn the switch on their return journey by touching a hanging lever, just as they do in dropping into their proper sections." Falkirk Herald, 30 Sep. 1882, p.4
ST LOUIS, Mo. Schroeter Bros. (hardware). Wire line carrier used to a cash desk on the balcony. Lamson brochure
ST LOUIS, Mo. Scruggs Vandervoort & Barney. "Lamson brass pneumatic tube from the store Scruggs Vandervoort & Barney ... Once privately owned, they were absorbed into the Denver Dry Goods Company. DDG was merged into and became part of the Foley's nameplate after a May Company Conversion." Caption in Retail Memories blog
SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. J.C. Penney. See ALBION: J.C. Penney
SHAWANO, Wis. Upham & Russell, Main and Green Bay Streets. " In the center of the picture is shown the Cashier's stand, the hub of the cash-carrying system, giving instant service to all parts of the store ... One of the largest and best stocked hardware stores in Northern Wisconsin." Wisconsin Genealogy website
STEVENS POINT, Wis. I.Brills. "I.Brill's Son have put in a new cash railway kown as the Detroit rapid service system. The cash is placed in a round ball which is shot off to the cashier's desk, receiving its momentum from a rubber spring. The carrier travels on a wire and makes the entire distance of the store and back in a few seconds." Stevens Point Gazette 24 Dec. 1887, p.5
STEVENS POINT, Wis. M.Cliffords. See STEVENS POINT. Brills above
WATERTOWN, Wis. Fischers, 106 West Main Street. "1952 Fischers Complete Remodeling program... A new overhead wire cash system has been installed and will eventually be changed to a pneumatic tube system for greater speed and convenience." Watertown Historical Society website
WATERTOWN, Wis. Schempf Bros, 209-213 E. Main. The leading department store in the city from the late 1840s to closing in 1936. [Quoting from 13 May 1904:] "A new electric cable cash system has just been installed in Schempf's store whereby change can be made from any part of the store to the office and returned. It is one of the finest systems now in use." Watertown Historical Society website
WAUKESHA, Wis. J.C.Penney (dept. store). "Pneumatic tube system speeds Penney service. More than 5,000 feet of tubing links the J.C.Penney department store together. It is the recently installed pneumatic tube cash system.
WEEPING WATER, Neb. Eugene L. Reed's, corner of I and Randolph Streets. "Mr Reed was the first merchant in Weeping Water to have a cash carrier placed in his store, and which for some time was regarded with a great deal of curiosity, being quite an innovation upon the old system." Building was erected in 1868. Portrait and biographical album of Otoe and Cass Counties, Nebraska (Chicago: Chapman Bros, 1889) p.910
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. Johnson-Hill (food store). "A Lamson pneumatic tube carrier system, with 24 separate cash and sales slip tubes reaching all departments of the store." Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, 11 Dec. 1941, p.7
YORK, Neb. Brown McDonald (dept. store). "Where the York State Bank is now, used to be the Brown McDonald Department store. They had .. pneumatic tubes to put customers money in, then it would 'whiz' to the office, and the office would send the change back to the clerk." (Floridagal posting to York News forum, 8/2/05)
ADRIAN, Mo. Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association. Air-Line system from Levys shop in Butler re-erected in old general store. Photos
indicates systems which are still there (as far as I know) though they may not be working.