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

Locations - Pennsylvania

ALTOONA. William F. Gable, "The People's Store", Eleventh Ave. "The latest model in Cable Cash Carriers, operated by electricity, is installed to transfer money to the cashiers and quickly return change to the customers. Ninety stations are in operation." Gable's 30th Anniversary Souvenir (The Company, 1914), p.29
• "The new William E.Gable store in Altoona, Pennsylvania, had a cable system with ninety stations in 1892..." Jan Whitaker. Service and style: how the American department store fashioned the middle class. (New York: St Martins, 2006) p.89

BEDFORD. Barnetts, Juliana Street. Built in 1899. Main room was 50 X 120 feet. "The Barr cash carrier system has been installed in the store. The cashier’s desk is elevated nine feet above the floor and the young lady in charge has a view of the whole room. There are five stations, or places from which the clerks can send the cash spinning along the overhead wires to the cashier." Bedford Gazette, 9 Feb. 1900

BRADFORD. Penneys. "We have expanded our cable cash system to speed delivery of [customers'] change and receipts. Bradford Era, 25 Apr. 1951, p. 2

CHAMBERSBURG. Bloom Brothers, 84 South Main Street. Blooms were the first in Franklin County to employ an overhead cash system. Besore, Carl V., and Robert L. Ringer. The Sherman Building. A Reflection on the History of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and vicinity (Waynesboro, 1994-96)

CLEARFIELD. Clearfield Dry Goods Co. "For sale. Store equipment... Lamson cash system." The Progress (Clearfield, Penn.) 5 Feb. 1952, p.10

starCLEARFIELD. Leitzingers, 234 E.Market Street. "Leitzinger's in Clearfield was at first a three- and then a five-floor department store. In the early days they used an electric car system to process sales. The cars took payment to the cash department. As employee Emily Swales demonstrates, change was made and the car was sent back to the appropriate department... Leitzinger's replaced the electric car system in 1951. The new pneumatic tube system used a vacuum to move metal carriers from floor to floor. The elaborate tube system ran throughout the five floors and was used even in the 1990s. In this photograph, Emily Swales is watching another employee process a sale."Julie Rae Rickard. Clearfield County, Pa. Charleston SC: Arcadia, 2003, p.111, captions to photographs.
• The store is now "Historica Plus", an antique mall. The entire Credit Office on the fourth floor remains as it was. The pneumatic tube system was used until 1980, serving the three floors below. Two small photographs on the Old Stuff website.

CONNELLSVILLE. Boston Store. My mother m in high school worked at THE BOSTON STORE in Connellsville PA. around 1942. They used these [pneumatic tube carriers] also.  Karen Prichard Knowles in posting to Historic Photographs on Facebook

DURYEA. Nick Clauson. "A device that worked something like an overhead cash system, such as Nick Clauson has in his store at Duryea." Pittston Gazette, 12 Jun. 1911, p.5

EASTON. William Laubach, Northampton and Bank Streets.  "There were 30 departments, each a complete store within itself. Each was connected, via pneumatic tubes, to a cashier's desk. Clerks would send money through these aluminum tubes to the cashier, and change and receipts would be returned. There were, of course, cash registers on the floors for instant service. The pneumatic tube system also connected the sales clerks with the credit department. Transactions were quickly noted in the store's ledgers. The pneumatic tubes replaced a Martin endless-cable cash-carrying system." Morning Call [Allentown], 17 March 1998
• "A massive pneumatic tube system connected every department with the credit department where the ledgers would be updated and receipts returned. The pneumatic tube system replaced an 1882 Martin Endless Cable cash-carrying system which used technology similar to cable cars but obviously on a much smaller scale." Kunsman/Eichlin family website with photos of exterior. The business was sold in 1947 to Allied Stores Corp. During the 1960s the store closed and reopened as Pomeroy's. Pomeroy's closed around 1970.

ERIE. Boston Store. "My Grandmother worked at a large Department store in Erie,PA called The Boston Store, in the 1950's, 1960's she showed me how this system worked there." Deborah Vommaro in Historic Photographs on Facebook

FAIRCHANCE. Union Supply Store. "In 1941 the Union Supply Store in Fairchance replaced the cable carrier method of purchases from each department and replaced it with the Lamson vacuum conveyor system, that relayed all store transactions to the central desk." Fairchance Past and Present website

GREENSBURG. John W. Pollins Co. "The Lamson Cable Cash System is now in operation at our new store. It is one of the best in existence. Runs from the top floor to the basement and centers in the cashier's office on the balcony, second floor. It is run by electricity - two cashiers are required to operate it. Greensburg Daily Tribune, 29 Apr. 1902, p.1

GREENSBURG. Royers, Main Street. "The third department store of local origin was Royer's, the newest and most fashionable, with an art deco façade and (of particular fascination to children) a pneumatic tube system that shot sales slips up and across the ceiling. Whenever anyone of my age recalls Royer's, they invariably remember the swoosh and clatter of secret messages sent through those tubes." William Severini Kowinski: The malling of America: travels in the United States of shopping (New York: Morrow, 1985) p67.

HARRISBURG. Bowmans. "The convenient air-cash system will be put to a rigid test and .. the large force of cashiers will make change in a rapid manner." Harrisburg Telegraph 23 Dec. 1915, p. 3

HARRISBURG. Dives, Pomeroy's and Stewart, Fourth and Market Streets. "The Harrisburg location featured the cash-ball system ... This change-making device consisted of a 'croquet shaped ball, split in half, hollowed out and locked'. It travelled between sales clerks and cashiers on an overhead track. In 1908, the ball transitioned into a square box that served the same purpose. The cash-ball system was still in use until the 1950s, along with newly installed cash registers." Michael J. Lisicky. Shop Pomeroy's First. (Charleston SC: History Press, 2014) p.28
• "We liked to watch the little carriages on wires that were sent from the various counters to the store cashier... Later Pomeroy's installed a pneumatic tube system" Robert Neubaum's website

HARRISBURG. Jerauld Shoe Co., 310 Market Street. "For sale at bargain prices... Air line cash and package carriers." Harrisburg Telegraph, 7 Jan. 1916, p. 15

HARRISBURG. Kaufman. "A pneumatic cash tube system will be provided." Harrisburg Telegraph, 7 May 1915, p. 17

HOLLIDAYSBURG. Louis Craine. Cash carrier. See court cases, 1913.

KITTANNING. Gault (dept. store). "The Gault department store was the first of its kind in Kittanning, and the pioneer in the adoption of the cash system." Armstrong County Pa: her people, past and present. J.H.Beers & Co., 1914, pp.602-603

LANCASTER. Astrich Bros., 13 East King Street. "The wooden overhead railway, for carrying cash from the salesman to the cashier, is reasonably familiar to our readers, but Astrich Brothers have just had completed an arrangement for carrying goods to the packing department and cash to the cashier, all in one trip. [it] consists of overhead wires... " David A. Brener. The Jews of Lancaster, Pennsylvania: a story with two beginnings (Congregation Shaarai Shomayim, 1979) p.93

LANCASTER. Reinhold & Co. Were renting a Barr system in 1893. Barr offered to sell it to them for $100. Letter offered on eBay.

LANCASTER. Reist (grocer), 55 west King Street. "The cash railway and other attractions worth seeing." Lancaster Daily Intelligencer, 30 Jul. 1887, p. 5

LANCASTER. Watt, Shand & Co., 6-8 East King Street. "Last evening a great throng gathered in and around Watt, Shand & Co.'s New York store .. to take a look at their new method of collecting cash from the different salesmen employed... The new method is known as 'Lamson's cash carrier system', a Yankee invention... In the centre of the store, on a platform raised about six feet abve the floor, is the cashier's desk. From this centre there are ten or a dozen elevated railroad tracks leading along and several feet above all the counters in the store room. The railroad is constructed of light wood and is suspended on cords fastened to the ceiling. The lower tracks have a slight down grade from the cashier's desk and the upper track a down grade in the opposite direction... Along the railroad there are 18 stations... The 'cars' on this curious railroad are hollow balls made in two sections... The balls belonging to the several stations are of different sizes... Watt, Shand & Co. have the only one in this city, and we are informed there is only one other in use in Philadelphia." Lancaster Daily Intelligencer, 22 Feb. 1883, p. 3
• "The first to employ a cash carrier tube system (1915)." Lancaster online website. The shop closed in 1995 and now only the front remains. Tom Bates
• "In the 1950s, Lancaster's Watt and Shand still used the system it had installed in 1915." Jan Whitaker. Service and style, p.84

LANSDALE. J.S.Geller, West Main Street (now the Lansdale School of Cosmetology). "With his mammoth triple stores, steam heated, electric lighted [sic], cash railway system extending to every department, have the expenses become burdensome?" Ambler Gazette, 12 Dec. 1895, p.6. The triple stores were united by archways into one, four floors to each.

LEHIGHTON. Joseph Obert. "A Lamson cash carrier in the retail department of Joseph Obert's pork packing establishment is something new for Lehighton." Carbon Advocate, 19 Mar. 1892, p. 3

LOCK HAVEN. W.A. Flack & Son. "Water pipes are being laid from the Church street main to the store of W.A. Flack & Son for the purpose of obtaining power for a water motor which will operate the new cable cash system which is to be put in... The new system will be put in the main store which is 165 feet in [length] and also on the carpet room on the second as well as in the underwear and upholstering. The cable cash system is new in this city and is a great improvement on the other systems now in [use]." Lock Haven Express 15 Nov. 1901, p.4

LYCOMING. Bush, Bull and Diehl. "May 4th, 1884, B.B.&D. had a quarter page ad in the Breakfast Table with large cut of cashier's desk and the cash railway and dress goods counter. Bush, Bull and Diehl, successors to Green & Co. Store Lore [Newsletter of Williamsport department store], vol.12, no.1, March 1925, p.9

NEW KENSINGTON. Kingensmith Hardware. Wire system. (David Stumpf)

NORWICH. Joseph Hull (dept. store). Overhead cash carriers. Store opened in 1908 and was said to be the largest in N.W. Pennsylvania. Smethport History website

NORWICH. Porteous & Mitchell, Water Street. "Our leading department store... There were no cash registers, but a system of hydraulic tubes that traveled throughout the store. Any sales transaction would be sent in a vacuum-type cylinder to the financial office on the top floor where the change would be sent back with receipt of purchase." 1930s. The store had five floors. Norwich Bulletin

PHILADELPHIA. W.F.Bryan (shoes). Lamson brochure shows baskets being raised to carriers operating below a high ceiling.

PHILADELPHIA. Gimbel Bros. "Philadelphia has the largest department store in the world - that of Gimbel Brothers. It contains twenty-three acres of floor space, and is bounded by Market-street, North-street, Chestnut-street, and Eighth-street... The cash-tube system embraces two hundred double-line stations, reached by over 60,000 feet of 2½ inch brass tubing.  The system is so much larger than any in use that special machinery had to be built to furnish the push and suction that drive the cash carriers between the counters and cashiers' desks. Seventy cashiers man these tubes and give newly quick service in change-making." Northern Daily Telegraph, 18 May 1903, p. 1

PHILADELPHIA. Hallahan (shoes). Lamson brochure shows "a well planned central desk" serving a basket system.

PHILADELPHIA. Maker Bros. "Among the heaviest users [of Lamson carriers]. Lowell Courier, ? Oct 1883

PHILADELPHIA (?). Marshall Field. Pneumatic tube system, installed 1893. Xroads website

PHILADELPHIA. Sears, Roebuck & Co. Lamson pneumatic system. Lamson brochure, 1952

PHILADELPHIA. Sharpless Bros., Chestnut Street. "Among the heaviest users [of Lamson carriers]." Lowell Courier, ? Oct 1883.
"Les grandes magasins de MM. Sharpless frères .. possèdent un appareil curieux; c'est le cash railway, le chemin de fer des recettes, qu'on peut appeler la boule payante. M. Lamcon [sic] en est l'inventeur." Albert Tissandier. Six mois aux États-Unis: voyage d'un touriste dans l'Amérique du Nord. (Paris: Masson, 1886), p. 20

PHILADELPHIA. Strawbridge & Clothier, 8th/Market streets. Pneumatic tube system. W.C.Fields (b.1880) worked there as a runner for three months, carrying money and orders from one department to another, until the system was installed. (W.C.Fields Fan Club website). "Strawbridge's actually used these tubes until fairly recent times [f]or large denomination bills. (Quincunx in posting to nyc.transit newsgroup, 30/10/98). Photograph of many tubes (back of the tube room) behind the carpets department in Hendrickson and on Retail Memories blog.

PHILADELPHIA. Wanamaker's Grand Depot, 13th/Market Streets. "The year 1880 marked more pioneering. For the first time in any store, pneumatic tubes were installed as cash carriers." Golden book of the Wanamaker stores: Jubilee year, 1861-1911. (Philadelphia?: Wanamaker, 1911-13) p.68.
•"Wanamaker's unit had over 250 stations connected by 20 miles of tubes" (Hendrickson). Store was a converted freight depot.
• "A hand of equal skill upon the lyre and the cash railway" [describing John Wanamaker] The Sun (New York), 15 Mar. 1889, p. 4
• "John Wanamaker, Philadelphia, displaced pneumatic tubes." (Advertisement for National Cash Register Co.) Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, 3 Nov. 1911, p. 20
• There is a photograph of a pneumatic tube system at Wanamaker's on the Hidden City: Philadelphia website, but the carriers look too large for cash carrying.

PITTSBURGH. Federal Supply Co. Baldwin Flyer. Testimonial in Baldwin advertisement, 1925

PITTSBURGH. Home Supply Company, 434 Market Street, popularly known as the Open Front. "Another feature of The Open Front that the public never fails to notice is the cable cash system. Pittsburgh Press, 22 Dec. 1895, p.10

PITTSBURGH. Hornes. Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street. "1893: The company moves to its current location at Penn Avenue and Fifth Street (now Stanwix). The new building is lauded for its modern features - hydraulic elevators, a power plant and a pneumatic tube system." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 30 Apr. 1994, p.4

PITTSBURGH. Mannsmans, East Liberty. "I like the pneumatic tubes to the cashiers office. The clerks wrote out a sales slip and put it and you [sic] money into the tube. It went up to an office and your receipt and change came back. No cash register." Roseanne in posting to Paallegh-Memories-L, 10/7/01

POTTSTOWN. Weitzenkorn. "As late as the early 1990's, Weitzenkorn's Mens Wear Shop ( EST. 1864), in Pottstown PA. still used one of these. You paid at the desk, information was put in the capsule, sent back to the office, where your purchase was rung up, credit card charged, or change made, put back in the tube, along with receipt, and sent back to the front desk." Michael G. Comfort in Historic Photographs on Facebook

PUNXSUTAWNEY. A hardware store. Lamson wire system propulsion and car offered on Freeman Yoder website 2018

READING. Dives, Pomeroy & Stewart, 600 Penn Street . "Among the heaviest users [of Lamson carriers]." Lowell Courier, ? Oct 1883. Photograph of exterior
"Overhead Lamson cable cash system with 18 stations, will be sold at a sacrifice. Apply J.G. Miller, Pomeroy's." Reading Times, 18 Jul. 1928, p.16

READING. Stitcher's. "We had a hardware-household goods store called 'Stichter's'..They had a partial pneumatic tube system. But about 75% of 'cash, billings' were transported through out the Store on 'Trolley Baskets' that would whisk clickity-clack. As a child, I would just stand and watch all these marvelous little 'carriages' scurry about, taken bills, receipts, monies from the floor clerks or Floor Walkers, UP! to Accounts, located on a mezzanine-'veranda'." Stan Ochocki on Facebook

READING. Union 10 Per cent. "The Union 10 Per cent, clothing house has introduced a new cash system in its large clothing store, known as the Acme cash railway system." Reading Times, 24 Apr. 1893, p. 2

READING. C.K. Whitner, 438-444 Penn. "The Lamson cable cash system, with 40 stations has taken the place of the old parcel-package carrier." Reading Eagle, 19 Oct. 1899, p.3
• "We have forty stations of the Lamson Cable System run by a two-horse electric motor." Reading Times, 21 Oct. 1899, p. 6

SCRANTON. Jonas Long's Sons, on site of former Wyoming Hotel. "The pneumatic cash carrier system has been placed in every department, centralizing at a point on the second floor where ample cashiers are provided to prevent long waits so commonly complained of by hurried shoppers. Its action is instantaneous." Scranton Tribune, 1 Dec. 1897, p.5
• "You'll be interested in the pneumatic tube cash carrier system that commenced business here yesterday afternoon." Scranton Tribune, 8 Jan. 1898, p. 5

SHAMOKIN. Charles Leader (dry goods). "The store now occupied by our subject was built in 1889... The store is equipped with several electric elevators.. also with the cable cash-carrier system." US GenWeb Archives files.

SHAMOKIN. Moser. "Moser’s store in Shamokin, PA had a pared down tube system." Karen Evans Harris in Historic Photographs on Facebook

TYRONE. Luggs. Cable system. Shop closed around end of 1961. Joe Waple

WARREN. Printz. "Printz Co. today announced plans for extensive interior remodelling of its Warren store at 214 Second avenue... A pneumatic tube system for cash and making change will also be installed." Warren Times-Mirror, 19 Jul. 1950, p.1

WAYNESBORO. Bloom Brothers, Old City Hall, Town Square. Blooms were the first in Franklin County to employ an overhead cash system. Besore, Carl V., and Robert L. Ringer. The Sherman Building. A Reflection on the History of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and vicinity (Waynesboro, 1994-96)

WELLSBORO. Cain- Bernkopf. "Cain-Bernkopf, Inc., are installing a new cash carrier system in their department store. It is the 'Lamson Preferred Cable Cash Carrier' which consists of about 1,000 feet of trackage, taking cash cars on an endless cable that connects all parts of the store with the central office. The cars travel at a speed of 15 feet per second and are run and controlled by electricity. Wellsboro Gazette, 12 Apr. 1916, p. 5
• "Fifty years ago... A cash railway system has recently been installed in the double store of Max Bernkopf & Brother." Wellsboro Gazette, 21 Sept. 1950, p.12

WELLSBORO. A.W.Lugg. "A.W.Lugg has his store fitted with the cash carrier system. Waldo proposes be ahead of any of the other merchnts in the vicinity in the way of store fixtures." Wellsboro Gazette, 6 Apr. 1899, p.2. It would narrowly beat Bernkopf above!

YORK. ? "Besides a systematic delivery system and the electric cash carriers we've a mechanical change maker for speed and accuracy." [York] Gazette, p.6

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