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Locations - Africa and Asia


star(?) BEIJING. The BBC Radio 4 programme Home Truths on 25 May 2002 reported sightings by listeners Cromerty Gasp and Pipple Atkins in Reading, Ballymena and Beijing.

BEIJING. See Fisher in References

HONG KONG. Jumbo restaurant, Aberdeen. Steeply-graded wire system for passing notes between the restaurant and the kitchens below.

HONG KONG. Stationery shop, Des Voeux Road. "I remember the stationary [sic] shop being near Swindon Books just down Des Voeux Road, a bit closer to Wing On... She told me this while I was mesmerized by the 'cash railways'." Annelisec in posting to Gwulo: Old Hong Kong website, 3 Mar. 2010

HONG KONG. Whiteaway Laidlaw & Co., Telephone House, Nathan Road, Kowloon. "At ground floor level was Whiteway's department store... One of the features of the store was an overhead pulley system for the assistant to send payment to the cashier sat on high presiding in a wooden pulpit affair." Vanessa in posting to Gwulo: Old Hong Kong website, 2 Mar. 2010. Photographs of store (carrier not visible)

HONG KONG. Shop in Queens Road Central beyond Central Market. Wire system in 1970s. Area has now been redeveloped.

SHANGHAI. See Hadfield in References

Visitors to Beamish Museum have reported cash ball systems in China.

David Holt reports a photograph of a wire system in a shop probably in Wanchai.

Michael Czehatowski said in magazine that he had seen cash baskets being used in herb stores in Shanghai and Hong Kong the previous year [1997] , but later told me that it might have actually been in Beijing.


TOKYO. Mitsui. "The big department store in Tokio belonging to the Mitsui family is by far the largest and most complete store in the Japanese empire... It has cash-carriers to take the money from one part of the store to the other." Gundagai Independent (NSW), 17 Sep. 1913, p. 3

TOKYO. (Unknown). "Pneumatic cash tubes convey money to the counting-house, while .. beside each cash station there is a clerk sitting at a telephone, ready to ask the office to O.K. an entry." The Telegraph (Brisbane), 4 Sep. 1916, p. 2

South Africa

DURBAN. Cuthberts (shoe shop) West Street. Pneumatic tube system. See below.

DURBAN. Harvey Greenacre, 422 West Street. "Greenacres disappeared too, long ago. It was a source of child wonder to watch the brass cash payment canisters being sent from all corners of the store on overhead wires, to a central accounting office. Here the cash was collected, change dispensed and the canister returned along the same route. The canisters were propelled along the wires by a counter-hand pulling a lever. This parted vertically twin conveyer wires, causing the canister to 'run downhill' across the store. The system may have been replaced later with a pneumatic tube system, which Cuthbert's shoe shop was already using." Facts about Durban website. Now a Shopright store

starGRAHAMSTOWN. T. Birch & Co., High Street. "The Lamson cash trolleys that operate on an overhead wire system are still in operation ... along with the vacuum tube delivery system to the upstairs academic gown department." Birch's website.
• "An overhead wire system taking cash and bills from the various departments to a central cash desk remains in working order." Rob Sissons. Single track obsession: a book of extraordinary railway journeys. (Victoria BC: Trafford, 2008) p.168
• Installed in 1960s. Photograph on No Tech Magazine website

JOHANNESBURG. "The Regent Street of South Africa. Pritchard Street, Johannesburg... A third [shop front] attains to no less than one hundred and thirty feet, besides being fitted with .. 'cash railways,' and all the up-to-date adjuncts of a great European store." Dundee Evening Telegraph, 26 Jul. 1900, p. 6

JOHANNESBURG. John Orrs. Cash carrier. Helen Hutton in posting to Facebook

JOHANNESBURG. Stuttafords, Pritchard/Rissik Streets. "Electric light, the telephone and even pneumatic tubes for conveying cash and cash slips were ordered." Stuttafords Blogspot

JOHANNESBURG. [Same as above?] There was a department store in Johannesburg when I was a child and teenager that used the [pneumatic tube] system. 'Sideview' in posting to Kate Shrewday website, 7 Oct. 2012

KROONSTAD. "I encounter[ed] them in a clothing store in Kroonstad, there wasn't as much tubes as on the photo." Nico Smit in posting to Historic Photographs on Facebook

MALMESBURY, Cape Province. Shop with cash carrier in 1975. T.Hardcastle in This England, Summer 1975.

THEUNISSEN, Free State. Le Roux and Kie. Cash carrier until 1960. Kobus du Toit


SINGAPORE CITY. C.K.Tang. Cash carrier."Lozzo" in posting to group, 14/12/04

UBIN Village Centre. "Pay for a purchase and your change will be retrieved from a used Milo tin suspended from a pulley overhead - just like the days before the advent of the cash registers. Wetlands vol. 5, no. 2, August 1998

Sri Lanka

starCOLOMBO. Cargills Department Store, corner of York and Princes Street. Pneumatic tube system - apparently still on view. Sunday Times [Sri Lanka] 29 Nov. 1998


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