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Locations - South Australia

The earliest system I have found was a wire system installed at John Martins in Adelaide in 1887. The first pneumatic tube system is claimed to be at the Coliseum in Adelaide in 1905.



Gawler, Crosbys

Hahndorf, Muggletons


ADELAIDE. Army and Navy Stores, Pirie Street. "Lamson cash railways save time in the handling of change." The Register (Adelaide), 29 Mar. 1922, p. 8

ADELAIDE. Australasian Implement and House Furnishing Co., North Terrace, Bank Street/Blyth Street, opposite the railway station. "A magnificent city freehold .. to be sold by auction... The building is provided with .. cash tube system." News (Adelaide), 7 Nov. 1934, p. 4

ADELAIDE. Charles Birke & Co. "Messrs. C. Birke & Co. are having fitted up in their establishment in Rundle-street two sets of the Lamson Store Ball Service... The receiving desk is elevated about 10 ft., and the 'rails' which are suspended from the roof radiate from it to the different departments... Very shortly the whole of the shop will be spanned by the service. The Company do not sell their rights except at a prohibitive price, and Messrs. Birks & Co. have only a rental of them for a certain number of years. At present sixteen stations are being fitted up, and for each of these a rental of £5 a year has to be paid, and roughly speaking the cost to the firm will be 4d. per day for each station." Adelaide Observer, 16 Aug. 1890, p. 6
• "Office girls .. cash tube room and other duties." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 13 Oct. 1948, p. 7

ADELAIDE. Bridgland & Atterton, Hindley Street. "In September last Messrs. Bridgland and Atterton, tailors and clothiers .. made extensive additions to their premises... The proprietors intend to install the cash railway system." The Register (Adelaide), 15 Apr. 1904, p. 7

ADELAIDE. F.C. Catt, 70-72 Rundle Street. "Our cash railways, which are connected with every corner of our store, are working to-day for the first time." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 12 Mar. 1906, p. 2
• "The firm will adopt new and sensational methods for the selling of boots... An electric cash system, that runs at the rate of 600 feet per minute, is being installed for the quick taking of cash." The Register (Adelaide), 8 Jul. 1918, p. 4

ADELAIDE. City Cash Store. "During the past few months great improvements have been made in the cash railway systems adopted at many of the large retail establishments in Adelaide. Mr. Irwin Bleechmore, the local agent for Lamson's cash railway systems for shops, has completed the erection of an improved system at the City Cash Store in Rundle-street, and without doubt it eclipses anything previously introduced in this line. The ball railway as well as wire carriers have been in use in the principal shops in the city for some time past, but Mr. Bleechmore's latest importation is a much more rapid service, and is decidedly more simple in construction. There are two wires between the station and the cash desk, and above the 'carrier' are four small wheels, one wire passing over two of these and the other wire under the other two. When the 'carrier' is stationary the wires are very close together, but by the use of a small lever they are separated at the extremities, and the pressure on the wheels causes them to revolve, with the result that the 'carrier' is dispatched at great speed to the cash desk. The rate can be regulated to a nicety by the pressure on the lever, and it is possible for either the clerk at the station or the cashier to send the 'carrier' on the return journey. The old catapult system has been entirely done away with, and in many respects the new railway is a marked improvement." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 25 Jan 1895, p.7. This is the Gipe design - Gipe took out his patent in 1892 and it appears that it was already being exploited by Lamson in 1895.

ADELAIDE. Coliseum (drapers), Rundle Street. "The inconvenience is condiserably minimised by the enterprise of the firm in providing a cash railway system... Mr. H.C.Le Bas, the representative of the Lamson Store Service Company, Sydney, erected the system, which is more simple in construction and expeditious in action than older systems in use in Adelaide. The new building was opened on Saturday." Advertiser (Adelaide) 13 Mar. 1899, p.6
• "The Coliseum Drapery Mart, Rundle street, which was recently considerably extended, is now a most up-to-date establishment. The latest improvement and the first of its kind introduced into this State is the installation of the Lamson Store Service Company's most modern system of pneumatic tubes. The system will be found in all the numerous departments on the different floors of the establishment. The special feature of this system is the meteoric speed by which cash can be forwarded from any given point to the cashdesk, which is situated in the basement, where space is least valuable...  A cartridge can be sent from the cash-desk to the fourth floor and returned within 10 seconds...   The tubes are the best drawn seamless brass, and the fittings highly ornamental. Mr. I. A. Bleechmore, of Pirie-street, is the local agent for the system." Advertiser (Adelaide) 4 July 1905, p.8

ADELAIDE. Co-operative Society. "Many additions have been made... Lamson's carriers, &c." Daily Herald (Adelaide), 11 Mar. 1912, p. 3

ADELAIDE. The Corner (J.T. Fitch). "The continual rolling of many balls on the cash railway give[s] an impression of extensive business." South Australian Register, 22 Dec. 1893, p. 5

ADELAIDE. Cowell Bros., Victoria Square. "Wanted to sell. Cash railway system. Two stations. Practically new." Recorder (Port Pirie), 14 Mar. 1936, p. 4

ADELAIDE. J. Craven & Co., Rundle/Pulteney Streets. "Modern improvements have been effected, showrooms built, 'cash railways' thread their way through the building." The Mail (Adelaide), 28 Nov. 1914, p. 3

ADELAIDE. Gerard & Goodman, 192-196 Rundle Street. "Female cashier, to look after cash tubes." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 16 Jan. 1951, p. 12

ADELAIDE. Harris Scarfe & Co., Gawler Place. "Messrs Harris Scarfe, & Co., of Gawler place, have recently had the vacuo pressure pneumatic tube system installed by the Lamson Store Service Company through their local agent Mr. Irwin Bleechmore. This is the first system of its kind installed in this State... The suction of air is caused by a blower driven by an electric motor." Register (Adelaide) 27 Jan. 1909, p.4

ADELAIDE. Hooper's Furnishing Arcade, Hindley Street. "In the basement it is proposed to erect a complete ventilation plant, and a Lamson store service cash tube system." News (Adelaide), 9 May 1928, p. 10

ADELAIDE. John Martin & Co., Rundle Street. "Any invention that saves time, trouble, and money is deserving of the attention .. and one of these has just been introduced in the drapery establishment of Messrs. J. Martin & Co., of Rundle-street... This has been altered by the adoption of a very ingenious though somewhat simple device, entitled 'The rapid service store railway', invented by an American (Mr. Robert A. McCarty), and developed and brought to perfection by the famous Edison... In a central position on the ground floor is the cashier's sanctum ... Over his head, depending from iron rods fixed to the ceiling, and radiating in a half circle, are a number of nickelplated arms, each holding a small cashbox, set free by the pulling of a cord, and sent with a whirr along a steel wire to a distance of 100 or 150 yards... Messrs. Martin & Co. have .. the sole right of using the machine in this colony for a stated period, and have had to pay a large amount in royalties as well as the cost of the machine... The 14 cars from the central depôt travel at high speed through tunnels in the walls from one shop to another, and a smaller depôt of six cars is erected in the new premises eastward... The cars will mount an incline to the cash-desk as easily as they will run on the level." South Australian Advertiser, 31 May 1887, p. 5 [In fact a patent was awarded to McCarty of Port Huron, Mich. for improvements to the cash ball system in 1883.]
• "There are no less than 50 stations in connection with the cash railway." Express and Telegraph (Adelaide), 20 Dec. 1894, p.3
• "When a decision was reached to rebuild the premises of Messrs. John Martin & Co. Ltd., Adelaide .. it was decided to install a Lamson Pneumatic Tube Belt Type system, as this was the most suitable to deal with both cash and entry transactions. A special sub-basement was excavated to acommodate the Tube Central, which measures 80 feet by 15 feet. With the central in such a location, it was possible to run all tubing in ducts under the floors to every department in the house, and in consequence all tubing is hidden from view, thereby causing no disfigurement to any portion of the beautiful interior of the new store.
This modern Lamson installation allows for two or three cashiers to operate the whole of the 62 cash stations, entry, and the special services tubes, whilst at busy periods as many as 18 cashiers and 12 authorisers can be put into service. The whole of this modern system is operated by two turbines, driven by two 15-h.p. electric motors. The Advertiser (Adelaide), 4 Jul. 1936, p. 22
• "John Martin & Co. Ltd. commenced the centralisation of cash in 1900, when they installed 67 Stations of Lamson Rapid Wire cash railway. The growth of business necessitated a more rapid means of centralisation, and in 1912 they installed 57 Stations of Lamson Pneumatic Tubes and have added to the number and modernised the equipment from time to time as the premises have been enlarged.
An entirely new System of Lamson Pneumatic Tubes, comprising 62 Sales Stations and 16 Special Services, terminating at a Belt Conveyor Desk equipped with Separators and operated by a Duplex Automatic Power Plant, was recently completed. The Belt Type Desk ensures the consecutive handling of all cash transactions in the order in which they occur in the Store.
Separators divert the Entry Carriers and discharge them on to a belt going direct to the Authorisers near the Cash Desk. The Cashiers being thus relieved of the handling of entries are enabled to concentrate on the speedier handling of cash transactions. Thus the handling of both cash and credit transactions is greatly accelerated. Lamson Pneumatic Tube Centralisation gives a twenty second service for cash transactions and thirty seconds for entry transactions." Ibid. (Advt.)
• "A sub-basement below the department on the lower-ground floor ... houses the lighting switchboard, air pumps and the modern Lamson Store Service Tube System". The big store: 80th anniversary bulletin. Adelaide: John Martin, 1946
• Photograph of Lamson tube cash carrier system, ca 1935 in South Australia State Library - also several exterior vews. "The tube room was located in the sub-basement."

ADELAIDE. Martin Bros. (related to above?) "Yesterday the establishment of Messrs. Martin Brothers  presented a most animated scene... The cash railway constantly in use." South Australian Register, 24 Dec. 1895, p. 6
• Case at the Supreme court alleging "injuries from the noise and vibration from the engine used to work the firm's cash-carrier system." See Court cases

ADELAIDE. Myer Emporium, Rundle Street (formerly James Marshall & Co.). "The newly installed Lamson cash carrier service, which is electrically operated - and reduces 'waiting for change' to a minimum." News (Adelaide), 5 Oct. 1928, p. 7

ADELAIDE. Raphael. "Grocers, drapers, inspect Gravity 'Cash Railway' at Raphael's Novelty shop; £6 10s. complete. Saves labor and public pilfering." Express and Telegraph (Adelaide), 20 Sep. 1892, p. 1 (Advt.)

star ADELAIDE. Malcolm Reid, 187-195 Rundle Street. Building now houses South Australian Writer's Centre. Photograph of eight Rapid Wire propulsions on a circular mounting.

ADELAIDE. A.W.Thomas. "Theodore Bruce & Co. have been favored with instructions from A.W. Thomas, Esq., who has leased his well-known commodious Drapery Premises, to sell by auction .. Complete Manson's [sic] Cash Railway System, 17 leads." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 7 Dec. 1943, p. 6

ADELAIDE. Town and Country Stores, 286-290 Rundle Street East. "J.A. Sando & Son are instructed .. to sell .. Cash Railway (4 stations)." The Register (Adelaide), 29 Sep. 1920, p. 10

ANGASTON. Endunda Farmers' Co-op Store (E.F.C.S.). "The cash desk, to be centrally situated, will be connected with the various departments by means of overhead cash railways." Leader (Angaston), 27 May 1937, p. 3

ARDROSSAN. J.O.Tiddy & Co., First/Fifth Streets. "Goldsbrough, Mort & Coy., Ltd., have received instructions from the Liquidator in the Estate of J.O. Tiddy & Coy., Ltd... to sell by auction .. 4 station cash railway." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 21 Jun. 1940, p. 4

BALAKLAVA. Up-to-Date Store "Recently Mr. N.F. Farrell, proprietor of this establishment, had a commodious showroom erected. He has now further improved his up-to-dateness by having installed what is known as the 'cash railaway'." Wooroora Producer, 21 Jul. 1910, p. 2

BERRI. H.S. Coombe, Denny Street. "The new general hardware and drapery store erected by Mr. H.S. Coombe .. will be opened to the public on Saturday, July 14... On a raised platform, an extensive cash desk is placed, fitted with Lamson's carrier cash system, with nine points, for the receipt of cash." Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record, 13 Jul. 1923, p. 8

BURRA. Drew & Crewes, Commercial Street, Kooringa. "The cash railway system which is erected in Lot 1 [including extensive business premises lately occupied by Drew & Crewes Ltd.] is the property of Mr. Sara and is excepted from the sale." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 6 Apr. 1939, p. 4

starGAWLER. H.B.Crosby Pty. Ltd., Essex House, Murray Street. "It was in 1980 that the 'Flying Foxes' were replaced in Crosby's store but they still attract tourists who are fascinated with the rare relic of early commercial transactions... The 'Flying Fox' system of cash carriers with 13 stations were [sic] installed in 1912 and was manufactured by Lamson Engineering Co. of Adelaide, who also made up spare parts for the carriers." The Bunyip and photos on Walkabout website , Flickr(1) and Flickr(2). There are nine counter positions. "The present managing director, Mr Arthur Cooper.. says the 'Flying Fox' system is just as efficient as it was half a century ago." Lamson Newsletter, July 1973
• "Sheard's Essex House, with its overhead money carriers which ran on wires, taking money to the office and returning with the change.  Reminiscences of Trix McConnell

GLENELG. Ryans. "Ryans at Glenelg SA had a Lamson Cash Carrier system in the 1950s." Eleanor on ABC Open

HAHNDORF. Muggleton's General Store and Restaurant, 38 Main Street. Replica Rapid Wire system made by Vivian Rush Specialty Engineering about 2002. There were two lines in the restaurant and all orders and bills were sent by them. Removed by 2013. V.Rush. Photographs

KADINA. Adelaide Manufacturing Company, Graves Street/Goyder Street (haberdashery and clothing). "They have recently had installed on the premises Lamsons cash railway system. Three stations, as they are termed, have been installed in the mercery, haberdashery, and manchester departments, the terminus being the cash desk and office." Kadina and Wallaroo Times, 25 May 1910, p. 2

KADINA. Kennett Bros., (grocers) Taylor Street. "The latest addition has been the installation of the Lamson Supply Company's cash service railway system... Messrs Kennett Bros. are the first firm in Kadina to have the cash railway installed on their premises." Kadina and Wallaroo Times, 18 May 1910, p. 2 (Apparently first only by a week!)

LOXTON. Eudunda Farmers (hardware, men's and ladies' wear, groceries, drapery). "As an employee in the menswear department, Win wrapped all kinds of clothing items and shoes in brown paper and tied them up with string. She was never however, allowed to handle the money. As many settlers tell, the store had a system whereby the sales assistant placed the docket and the money in a container inside a little wire cage which was whizzed, by an overhead system of cables, to an upstairs cash office. There, a woman would take out the money, work out the payable change, place it in the container, pull a lever and send it back down to the assistant to give to the customer. Vern Hallam recalls that kids loved to go into Eudunda Farmers to watch the little container flying over their heads across the shop." George, Karen. "A place of their own: the men and women of war service land settlement at Loxton after the Second World War". (Kent Town, SA: Wakefield, 1999), p. 283.

MOUNT BARKER. ? "An 'aerial cash railway' has .. been established at Mount Barker." Critic (Adelaide), 3 May 1911, p. 6

ORROROO. Cox & Brown. "Tenders are invited .. for the purchase of .. Plant including .. Cash Railway." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 25 Feb. 1938, p. 7

PORT ADELAIDE. Fred Cottle, St Vincent Street (draper). "Deceased estate... Large auction sale... Cash railway system." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 19 Aug. 1936, p. 4

PORT ADELAIDE. Town and Country Stores, St Vincent Street. "Great clearing-out sale ... Cash railway, and all fixtures and fittings." Port Adelaide News, 6 Aug. 1920, p. 1

PORT AUGUSTA. W. Symons. "For sale. - 1 Lamson Premier Wire Cash Railway System, four service stations, in good order." Port Lincoln Times, 26 Jan. 1934, p. 12

PORT AUGUSTA. Young and Gordons. "The Lamson Cash Railway System, the installation of which was completed at Messrs Young and Gordon's, Port Augusta, on Saturday evening last, is the invention of a retail tradesman in America... The system as established .. embraces five stations. At convenient points under counters or shelving a box of cash carrying balls is placed (usually four for each station.) Port Augusta Dispatch, 10 Mar. 1905, p. 3

PORT PIERIE. Cottles (drapers). "Cottles' up-to-date establishment. Cash railways. No waiting." Port Pirie Recorder, 23 Nov. 1907, p. 3

PORT PIERIE. Eastons, Ellen Street. "Auction sale of shop plant... 3 cash railways." Recorder (Port Pirie), 26 May 1933, p. 2

PORT PIERIE. Symonds Bros. Co-op Ltd. "As our premises are leased by W.J. Pimlott, Ltd. we offer for immediate sale 5 station cash railway system, in working order." Port Pierie Recorder, 8 Oct. 1940, p. 4

PORT PIERIE. W.F. Wells & Co. "For some time the commodious premises adjoining the shops occupied by Messrs. W.F. Wells & Co., and until recently by Mrs. T. Row and Mr. E. Francis, have been undergoing a metamorphosis... A cash railway has been installed." Port Pierie Recorder, 27 Nov. 1909, p. 3

starQUORN. Fosters Welcome Mart, aka The Great Northern Emporium, aka Emily's Bistro, 45 First Street. "This store still has the original flying fox docket and money transport system... You will always be welcome to come in and have a look at this piece of history." Flinders Ranges Council website. Also Quorndon Magazine, Summer 2002. Some photographs at ABC website , Flikr and Trip Advisor.
System was refurbished in 2019 with new parts. Has four stations, two working including cashier's. Viv Rush

UNLEY. F.J. Pudney, 72 Unley Road, North Unley. "Auction sale... 4-station Cash Railway." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 11 Nov. 1929, p. 12

UNLEY. Thomas Co. "Wanted, one to four 'Lamson' Wire Cash Railway Systems. Sellers communicate Thomas Co., Unley." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 5 Jul. 1916, p. 2

YORKETOWN. The Busy Store. "The installation of the 'Premier Rapid Wire Cash Carrier' system throughout 'The Busy Store', Yorketown, will undoubtedly prove of great value to the proprietors and their customers. Even after 10 days in operation a great saving has been noticed in the cost of operations." Pioneer (Yorketown), 30 May 1930, p. 3

YORKETOWN. M. Erichsen & Co. "T.C. Paltridge .. is instructed to offer by public auction .. Lamson Rapid Wire Cash Railway." The Pioneer (Yorketown), 25 Mar. 1932, p. 2



starKAPUNDA. Museum, 11 Hill Street in former Baptist Church. "Here you can travel back in time to the days of the old Farmer's Co-operative store... This gadget is a flying fox that sent the money from the counter down to the cashier in the middle of the shop." Postcards website

starSADDLEWORTH. Museum, 34 Burra Road. Wire system from Eunda Farmers store (see LOXTON above). Photo on Flickr

UNLEY. Unley Museum, 80 Edmund Avenue. "Visit the Unley Museum's latest exhibition Shop 'Til You Drop... Kids can use the replica overhead cash carrier ('flying fox')". Unley website . The system was made by Viv Rush. Exhibition ended and system removed in June 2008.


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