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Locations - Wisconsin



Cudahy. Dretzkas's department store


APPLETON. Geenens (dry goods), College Avenue. "A new cable cash system is being installed to give service." Appleton Post Crescent, 17 June 1927, p.1
• "The other Geenens feature which 1930s-something folks remember most vividly (and they always mention it first thing when they're reminiscing) was the overhead cable system of electrified wires that shot little cash cages whizzing madly in a dizzying network from the counters on the first floor to the cashier." Mary Ellen Ducklow. 1930s-something: a nice neighborhood with tall trees. (Appleton, Wis.: Perin, 1993 ) p. 97
• "I remember being fascinated with the metal tracks that little money boxes traveled to the payment center upstairs. The counter clerks did not have cash registers. They put the sales order slip with the customer's money in a little metal box, put it on a track that shot it upstairs. Someone up there took the money and sent the change back down in the metal container." Post-Crescent website

APPLETON. Gloudemans. "Other readers remembered a tube system at Gloudemans." Post-Crescent website

BELOIT. E.L. Chester. "It is now over one year since we had the nine Gipe cash carriers installed in our store." Merchants Record, Jun. 1915, p. 2

BELOIT. "McNeany's department, downtown Beloit had a [pneumatic tube] system like that." Mike Bonnie Moore in posting to Historic Photographs on Facebook

CENTRALIA. 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

starCUDAHY. Dretzka (dept. store), 4746 S. Packard Avenue. Cable system - in place but not operational. Photographs.

DELAVAN. Bradleys (dept. 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

EAU CLAIRE. 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. 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. Mercantile. Pneumatic tube system. "Grannie Annie" posting to Homespun-L, 18 Jan. 02

starFOND DU LAC. Ediths, 9 South Main Street. Pneumatic tube system still there in 2004. M.Bennett

FOND DU LAC. 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.)

GREEN BAY. 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

JANESVILLE. Chicago Store. See JANESVILLE: F.S.Winslow below.

JANESVILLE. 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. New York Store. See JANESVILLE: F.S.Winslow below.

JANESVILLE. 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
• "Another 'cash railway' has been put up in the city. Customers of F.S.Winslow's new house have their change brought by automatic messages. Wires run from the cashier's desk to all parts of the store, and suspended from each of these is a cup through the cover of which the wire passes. At each end of the line is a strong spring... There are now three of these railways in Janesville stores, Mr Winslow's and that in the New York Store being somewhat similar, while that in the Chicago Store is on a wholly different plan." Janesville Daily Gazette, 13 Jan. 1887, p.4

MADISON. 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, 1925.
A 1929 advertisement offered on eBay included a photograph of the cash desk with about 20 lines.

MADISON. Hill's (dept. store), 202 State Street. Photograph of shoe department with what appears to be cash ball system. Wisconsin Historical Society website.

MANITOWOC. O. Torrison & Co. (dry goods, clothing, groceries, etc.) "It .. is completely equipped with passenger elevators, cash railway system, and in fact every convenience." Manitowoc Pilot, 21 Mar. 1889, p. 4

MANITOWOC. Schuette Bros. (dept store), 804 Jay Street. Pneumatic tube system made by Kelly of Chicago. Closed 1994. Manitowoc website. Photograph of a terminal on Flickr and the cash office on Pinterest.

MILWAUKEE. 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. 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. 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. 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. Rich & Silber. "Among the heaviest users [of Lamson carriers]." Lowell Courier, ? Oct 1883

MILWAUKEE. Schusters, ?Mitchell Street. Pneumatic tube system in 1930s. Don's Depot website

MINERAL POINT. Cash Grocery House. "Supplied with elevator, cash carrier, bicycle ladders, and other conveniences." Iowa County Democrat, 9 Dec. 1892, p. 1

RIVER FALLS. "T.H. Daniels has equipped his store with the Fuller system of 'cash carriers'. River Falls Journal, 19 Mar. 1891, p. 4

SHAWANO. 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. 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
"A man from Chicago is here putting in a cash railway system in M.Clifford's and I.Brill's Son's stores." Stevens Point Daily Journal, 9 Sep. 1905, p.5.

STEVENS POINT. M.Cliffords. See STEVENS POINT. Brills above

WATERTOWN. 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
"That cash system reminded us of the old system in place for many years at Fischer’s Department Store. That system consisted of pneumatic tubes which had cash and the purchase listing quickly whisked up to the office where they were tabulated and the change returned the same way. It was fascinating to watch." Watertown Historical Society website

WATERTOWN. Schempf Bros, 209-213 E. Main. The leading department store in the city from the late 1840s to closing in 1936. "Schempf Bros. Company are installing a new electric cable cash system in their department store. The system is automatic and continuous and a new departure in this section of the state." Watertown Republcan, 11 May 1904, p. 5
[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

WATERTOWN. Wegemann & Strauss. "Extensive improvements will soon be commenced on the store building belonging to the Sweeney estate, 114 Main street, occupied by Wegemann & Strauss... The latest accessories in the way of .. cash railway system, etc., will also be provided." Watertown Republican, 25 May 1898, p. 5

WAUKESHA. 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.
When a clerk makes a sale, he places the money and sales slip in a small brass "bullet" which speeds through the tubing at 35 feet per second to the cashier's desk. There the correct change is made and sent back to the clerk in a few seconds. The system is powered by a 10 h.p. motor.
Eighteen sending and receiving stations are located throughout the store. At the cashier's desk where all tubes terminate are facilities for four cashiers, assuring the customers of no waiting." The store first opened on 13 June 1940 and re-opened after remodelling and enlargement on 7 April 1949. Waukesha Daily Freeman, 6 Apr. 1949, p.17

WAUPACA. Schultz Bros. (Dime Store), Main Street. Part of Lamson Air-Line system donated to Waupaca Historical Society. Photograph

WISCONSIN RAPIDS. 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

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