Home Manufacturers Cash Balls Wire systems Pneumatic systems Locations References Patents


The principal manufacturer is the Lamson company, known by various names over the years since 1882. The first factory was in Lowell, Massachusetts with an office in Boston. An agent was appointed in London in 1885 and the Brtish company was registered in 1888. This had rights to the "Eastern hemisphere" (including Britain to the west of Greenwich!) and branches were set up in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Many other companies competed with Lamson and those I have heard of are listed below: some have their own pages. Lamsons took over most of the successful ones, sometimes using the original trading name.



AIR-LINE CARRIER COMPANY. The Air-Line system was invented by Emanuel Gipe. The Air-Line Carrier Company, 172 Washington Street, Chicago is listed in the Directory of Directors in the City of Chicago, 1900-1, with F.J. Griffin as President and E.C. Gipe as Secretary and Manager. Gipe sold his patents to Lamsons in 1903 with a condition that he withdrew from the US market for 10 years. The "Air-Line Carrier Company" became controlled by Lamsons but continued to run under its own name with address 200 Monroe Street, Chicago", e.g. Shoe Retailer, 20 Apr. 1904, p. 34 and Butchers Advocate, 31 Aug. 1904, p. 19. The Air-Line systems bore both names.

AIRMATIC SYSTEMS COMPANY, Rochelle Park, NJ. Makers of pneumatic tube cash systems. One location is Weavers in Lawrence, Kansas.

ALGIE COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


AMERICAN CASH RAILWAY COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


AMERICAN PNEUMATIC SERVICE COMPANY. In 1899 the stockholders of the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company purchased several other pneumatic tube companies and organised a new company, the American Pneumatic Service Company (APSC).



AUSTRALIAN CASH RAILWAY COMPANY. The photograph shows a wire car with their transfer on the cup which was sold on eBay. It was said to have come from a store near Wagga Wagga. The design of the car is very similar to Lamson's Rapid Wire.

The Official Year Book of New South Wales, 1887, mentions the manufacture of cash railway systems "within the metropolis". This seems earlier than Lamson's presence, so might it be the Australian Cash Railway Company?

The 1927 Sands Sydney, Suburban and County Commercial Directory lists "Australian Cash Railway Co., 17 Regent Street, Redfern." In the 1932-3 directory the address was Gibbons Street.

In 1930, J.B.Wallis Ltd. (in liquidation) brought an action against James Maher, Henry Herbert Walters and Betty Glyn, trading as the Australian Cash Railway Company, to recover £315/4/5 as the value of turbos supplied for a pneumatic railway system which was installed in the 'Sun' building. Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Nov. 1930, p.11

There is an entry in the Classified Section of the Australian Capital Territory Telephone Directory (including Section 4 of New South Wales Telephine Directory) of January 1952 under "Cash Carriers": Australian Cash Railway Co. Pty. Ltd. Manufacturers of PNEUMATIC & RAPID Wire Systems, Installation and Maintenance, 84 Wentworth Av., Sydney." This is followed by an entry for Lamson Engineering Co. Ltd. at 9 Queen Street, Chippendale. So they appear to have operated alongside Lamson until at least 1952.

Wooden cup with Australian Cash Railway Company transfer

AUTOMATIC DELIVERY COMPANY, New York. Manufacturers of an early pneumatic tube system described in Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 Oct. 1887, p.30. The "automatic receiver" is shown opposite.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4

AUTOMATIC STORE SERVICE COMPANY, Boston. "The Automatic cash and parcel carrier is indorsed by every merchant and mechanic who has seen it to be the BEST invention of its class, the cheapest in construction, and certain to supersede all other systems. The Automatic Store Service Company, the parent company, offers a limited amount of its capital stock for sale AT PAR, ensuring to the purchasers certain and large dividends. Capital $500,000. Shares $50 each.
Sub-companies are now being arranged in many parts of the country... The factory of the company is located at 164 High street, Boston... For information, call or address The Automatic Store Service Company, Room 19, 50 State Street."

A patent was awarded in 1890 to Frank S. Church of Detroit, Mich. , assignor to Automatic Store Service Company, Portland, Me. for a cash and parcel carrier.

The illustration is from an envelope postmarked Boston Mass., 1890.







BOSTEDO PACKAGE & CASH CARRIER COMPANY, Room 47 Marine Building, 154 Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois and BOSTEDO PNEUMATIC TUBE COMPANY

In 1881, Louis Gardner Bostedo joined his father's retail dry goods and carpets business (A.L.Bostedo) in Atlantic, Iowa. He started the cash carrier company in 1884. In 1888, Horatio Thomas of Chicago and Louis Bostedo took out a patent assigned to the company. The patents were later sold to Lamson. (Iowa Journal of History)

The description of the system at J.T. Sheward, Los Angeles, installed in 1889 mentions four stationary tracks with thirty-four stations and baskets dropping into the proper stations. This sounds somewhat like a cash ball or cable system and not a wire system.
Mentioned in "The Railway Purchasing Agent's Directory" (Railway Equipment & Finance Co.,1900) p.14 as a supplier of mail bags.
The date of the advertisement opposite is not known. Bostedo made both wire and pneumatic tube systems and evidently had a New York office too. A pneumatic tube system, the first in Ireland, was installed at Arnotts of Dublin in 1897 (Daily Nation, 22 Nov. 1897, p. 3).

Both the Bostedo Package and Cash Carrier Company and the Bostedo Pneumatic Tube Company were owned and controlled by Lamsons by 1903.

The Bostedo Pneumatic Tube Company was involved in a patent dispute with Stoetzel in the early years of the 20th century. There is a statement by someone connected with the firm in US Congressional Serial Set.

Bostedo was active in Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Apr. 1899 p.8 records the case of W.A.Lingham v. The Bostedo Package and Cash Carrier Company Ltd. in the Small Debts Court, Water Police Office. The first Bostedo pneumatic system in New Zealand was at the Direct Supply Company. Auckland Star, 18 Nov. 1899, p.1

The Bostedo Pneumatic Tube Company took out a suit against the Harris-Emery store in Des Moines, Ia. in 1900, alleging infringement of their patent - see Court cases.

The company appointed Urbine Curtis Phillips as their London agent and a clerk from Lamsons, Mr Fenwick, left to join Phillips, taking copies of all their leases for systems. Mr Kelly of Lamsons went to Chicago and arranged for Louis Bostedo to visit England. An agreement was signed for in May 1908 for Lamson to acquire the overseas business of Bostedo with rights of manufacture in the UK. (F.Wagstaff)

Advertisement from Construction News, 1 Mar. 1889, p. 304



CASTLE CHECK-BOOK COMPANY. Several advertisements appeared in British regional newspapers around 1894-5 for agents, e.g.
"First-class men wanted, to take orders for 'The Castle Cash Carrier'. Apply at once to The Castle Check Book Co., 24 Castle-street, Finsbury, London, E.C. " Leeds Mercury, 18 Jan. 1895:

The advertisement opposite was in the Drapers Record of 16 March 1895, p.687. The illustration shows a two-wire system similar to Gipe's.

One location known to have this system was the Stuff Warehouse, York.

Advertisement for "Castle" Cash Carrier

CHAPMAN. Listed in Companies in Kansas.
• "We have put in six stations of Chapman's Cash Railway System". A.E.Bishop & Co., Abeline


CONSOLIDATED STORE FIXTURE/SERVICE COMPANY. See Court cases. It seems to have existed around 1890-98.

CONTINENTAL CASH CAR COMPANY. "The Continental Cash Car Company has been incorporated for the manufacture, sale , &c., of machines and apparatus for conveying: money and packages." The Sun, 19 July 1883.
• "The old [Lamson Cash Railway] company has bought the Continental Cash Car company of Baltimore and the New York Store Service company... The former company's system is in operation in about eighty stores and the latter in twenty-one stores. Lowell Weekly Sun, 19 Dec. 1885, p.8
See also Court Cases


DENNIS CASH CARRIER COMPANY. Incorporated in Bangor, Maine, on 29 August 1882. The president in July 1883 was S.B.L(?)uffer. George B. Coram and John C. Coram took out patents in 1883. There were prolonged arguments in 1884 with Lamsons about ownership of the patents for the ball and switch with threats to prosecute users of the Lamson system. In June of that year it was consolidated into the Flagg company (see below).

FLAGG CASH CARRIER COMPANY. "A new company, bidding for the cash carrying business, has come into the field this week, styled 'Flagg Cash Carrier company.' It is a consolidation of the Flagg Automatic and the 'Dennis Cash Carrier Company' of Lowell." Boston Post, 28 Jun. 1884
Joseph Walter Flagg of Worcester, Mass. assigned a patent to the company in Portland, Maine in 1884.
Mentioned in the Boston Directory (Sampson, Murdock) for 1885, at 28 Equitable Building.

FULLER CASH CARRIER COMPANY, Meadville Pa. The illustration is from an envelope franked 30 December 1893. The carrier runs on a single wire propelled somehow by a cord with two handles (one for each direction?). The cup is permanently attached to the carriage and hinges down for inserting or removing money. The same illustration appeared in Scientific American (15 March 1890), p. 165.

"This car runs on a horizontal wire, between salesman and cashier. The cup to hold money is part of the car." Boston Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. Exhibition (date unknown)

Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4

Fuller Cash Carrier drawing

GILMAN CASH RAILWAY COMPANY. "To the Gilman Cash Railway Company belongs the credit of solving the problem of using any number of stations, from one to twenty, on a single wire or rail." Boston Daily Globe 31/1/1886. It was exhibited at 173 Devonshire street, Boston.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4




GROVER COMPANY. About the same time that Lamsons started to sell pneumatic tube systems, William and Clarence Grover founded a company in Woodburn, Michigan with activities including "the manufacture, sale and distribution of Pneumatic Tubes; Cash and Parcel Carriers; Store, Office and Factory Fixtures". It was later purchased by the Powers Regulator Company of Skokie, Illinois. (Dead Media Working Notes 36.5). The present descendent is Swisslog who manufacture TransLogic pneumatic tubes, mainly for hospitals.

The pneumatic tube system in Penney's, Brownsville, Texas was installed by Frank E.Ware, Texas representative of the Grover Company.


HAZARD STORE SERVICE CO., Toronto. The Lethbridge [Alberta] News of 15 Feb. 1900 records that the Co-op purchased a system from the Hazard Store Service Co. In 1912 it was combined with the Gipe Carrier Company.

HENDERSON STORE RAILWAY LTD. I know of this only from the following advertisement: "The Henderson Store Railway Limited. - Representative for Ireland wanted to obtain orders for cash railways. Apply, by letter, to the office of the company, 163 West George Street, Glasgow." Belfast News-Letter, 15 June 1893


HOLBROOK MANUFACTURING COMPANY of Chicago. Installed a system at Chasaka's dry goods store, Fort Wayne, In. in 1882. Became part of the Lamson Cash Railway company in 1883. Lowell Daily Courier, 23 Feb. 1883, p.8


JANESVILLE CASH AND PACKAGE CARRIER CO. An advertisement in the Dry Goods Reporter, 6 May 1905, states that the Janesville carrier is the cheapest good carrier. It works on the leverage principle, is constructed entirely of steel and hardwood, no ropes to break, no springs, no rubber and has only a single trolley wire. It features the 'Sure-Catch' automatic brake, which catches the car without jarring or pounding and releases it automatically. In a later advertisement (3 June 1905, p. 58) its address is given as "Jackman Building, Janesville, Wis."



W. KILBURN. There is an account in the Northern Echo, 26 November 1897, p.3 of a new company, W. Kilburn Ltd., to carry on the business of Mr W. Kilburn of 21 Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. It had been in existence for over 100 years and now had 34 employees. A speciality of the firm was the pneumatic cash carrier, which was claimed to be the the simplest and most effective system in existence. It had recently been installed in the Co-operative stores in Bishop Auckland, Haswell and Stockton-on-Tees.


LOVEJOY STORE SERVICE COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


McCORMICK CASH CARRIER COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


MARTIN CASH CARRIER COMPANY and MARTIN & HILL CASH CARRIER COMPANY, Florence Mass. Joseph C. Martin took out a patent in 1882 for "automatically-moving cash boxes" - see Patents
• Claimed to be the original inventors of cash railways carriers and won a lawsuit against a "certain company" (Lamson?) who threatened to sue "each and every company" who used their system. Boston Evening Transcript, 3 June, 1887
• Mentioned in the Boston Directory for 1885 at 161 Devonshire
•"Arthur G. Hill was .. one of Florence's leading citizens .. and co-founder of the Martin and Hill Cash Carrier Co." He served as Northampton's second mayor in 1887-8. Historic Northampton website
• In October 1887, H. Batterman in Brooklyn had "Martin & Hill's electric cable cash railway" installed "at an enormous expense". Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 30 Oct. 1887, p.12
• "Joseph C. Martin of this city sold certain patents on the automatic cash box system to the Martin & Hill Cash Carrier company some years ago. Now the Martin & Hill company have brought suit to suppress the defendant from further patents on the machine." Lowell Daily Sun, 2 Jun. 1894, p.21
• Martin died in Florence in March 1899.
• Oakes Ames, President of the Lamson Store Service Company was also President of the Martin Cash Carrier Company at the time of his death in 1914.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


MERCHANTS' STORE RAILWAY COMPANY of New York. Involved in patent infringement case, 1887.
• "He next became manager of the Merchants' Store Railway Company, which was continued up to the time when it was sold out to the Lamson Store Railway Company." James J.Mitchell. Detroit in history and commerce (Rogers & Thorpe, 1891) p.119
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


METEOR DESPATCH COMPANY. David Law Proudfit was (first?) president in 1888 and the company was based in New York (Virtual American Biographies).
• Martin Barri assigned a patent for improvements in pneumatic cash carriers to the Meteor Despatch Company of Portland, Maine in 1888.
• "Pneumatic tube apparatus for the safe, rapid and certain carriage of cash, papers or messages." Offices in Boston, New York and Chicago. (Advertisement of 1892).
"This is manifestly an improvement in these necessary appliances for the rapid transaction of business, and a meritorious invention. Bronze medal". (Boston Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. Exhibition, date unknown)
• A Lamson sales document of around 1930 shows tubes labeled Meteor Despatch Co. Boston, Mass. so they were presumably one of the many companies taken over by Lamson.
• There were at least two systems in south-west England: H.T.Williams of Redruth, Cornwall and another at Torquay, Devon.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


NEW YORK STORE SERVICE CO. Bought by the Lamson Cash Railway company in 1885. See CONTINENTAL CASH CAR Co. above.


PERFECTION CARRIER CO. This company is listed in Trow's General Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx, City of New York for 1911 under "Cash Carriers" with the address 6 Reade. Presumably it was taken over by Lamsons and was the source of their Perfection Cable system.


PETERSON MANUFACTURING CO. Advertisement in Janesville [Wis.] Daily Gazette, 31 Oct. 1921, p.5: "Cash carrier systems. Soft water service pumps. Phone Blue421, Evenings."

RAPID SERVICE STORE RAILWAY COMPANY of Detroit. Acquired by Lamson in 1887. Installed a system at the Drapery Importing Company, Christchurch, New Zealand in 1889.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4

SKINNER CASH TRANSMITTER COMPANY. According to the Skinner Family Association website, David Skinner (1825-98) patented a parcel transmitter in 1883. It consisted of a metal basket which was propelled up a track to the ceiling by pulling a cord. There a spring propelled it along a cable to the cashier's office. Skinner sold his interest to Lamsons in 1887.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


STANDARD STORE SERVICE COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4. This may derive from Gipe's "Standard" carrier which Lamson acquired.
• Involved in a court case with Lamson in 1916, which seems odd if it was owned by Lamson by then.







TRANSIT APPARATUS COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


UNITED STATES STORE SERVICE COMPANY. "The United States Store Service Company agrees to convey unto the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, by proper assignment, all its patents and inventions which stand in its name." Supreme Court, 1888, p.20


UNIVERSAL PNEUMATIC CASH SYSTEMS. Known only from this photograph taken from an American magazine of 1915.

HENRY WALKER AND SONS. Their factory was at Gallowgate Iron Works, Newcastle. In 1886 they installed a pneumatic tube system, invented by their foreman John Newton, for Bainbridge of Newcastle. In 1888 they won a bronze medal for the 'Newton-Walker Pneumatic Cash Carrier.' I don't know what other installations there were (if any).

WHITING'S Cash railway system. Installed in Hudson's Bay store, Calgary. No more known about this manufacturer.