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McCANN, Joy. A lot in store: celebrating our shopping heritage. (Paramatta: NSW Heritage Office, 2002). p.27 - discussion of centralised cash systems. "Aerial cash systems, also called 'flying foxes' were once common in stores across Australia." p.28 has a photograph of the Up-to-Date store in Coolamon.
McINNES, Paula; SPARKES, Bill; BRODERICK, Peter. One hundred years of Croydon at Work. (Croydon: Croydon Society & Croydon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 1991) p.29 "Every up-to-date retail technique that was available was used [at Kennards], for example its highly modern Lamson Pneumatic Cash Desk system, which had over a hundred stations in the store linked to the central cash desk. 'After the cashiers have receipted the bills, they are put, with the change, into a carrier which is dropped off an endless belt into the tray... The time taken for a carrier to reach the cash desk from the most distant station is 30 seconds. They travel at a speed of about 25 mph.'" (quoting Town and Country News, 6 Sep. 1929)
McNAIR, Malcolm Perrine; BURNHAM, Elizabeth A.; HERSUM, Anita C. Cases in retail management. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957) pp. 612-3. Case study of the "Nordell Company" , a ready-to-wear store in n a small suburban city in a Middle Atlantic stste. It started in 1896. In the late 1920s it installed a manually operated overhead cable carrier system with a cashier's office in the rear of the store. By 1931, realising that the overhead carrier system was slow, unsightly and inefficient, the management installed a pneumatic tube system at a cost of about $10,500. It had 15 service points throughout the store. A salescheck had to be written for every transaction. By 1939, the number of transactions was about 115,000 p.a. and the problems of handling cash and making sales audits were considerably increased. In 1946 there were 55 merchandise departments and the management was considering a decentralised system with cash registers.
MAC THOMÁIS, Éamonn. The 'Labour' and the Royal. (Dublin: O'Brien, 1979) p.58. "In the ordinary run-of-the-mill draperies they had money railways or suction tubes to take the cash to the cashier, who sat up on the second or third floor offices. But in Switzers the cash office was beside the counters."
MACEY, Thomas. Jacksons: E. Jackson & Sons Ltd. (Self published, 2009). Four pages on the pneumatic tube system with seven photographs.
MEADOWS, Eric. 'Rapid Wire' in Hertfordshire. In: Hertfordshire Countryside, vol. 29, no. 185, Sept. 1974, pp. 38-39. Gives a history of the Rapid Wire system. "More were installed in Britain than elsewhere in the world: a few on lease but mostly sold. 'Rapid Wire' was last manufactured about 1968, when four or five systems were made for use in bingo halls... The clothing, drapery and millinery departments of A. Anscombe & Sons Ltd. in Leyton Road have what is probably the largest 'Rapid Wire' still in regular use in Britain... It has seven cables. It also has a unique feature - the only terminal upstairs in existence which shoots the cash-cup vertically downwards through a hole in the floor, then round a right angle bend and along below the ceiling of the ground floor."
MILLIGAN. Regina. Serendipity. Xlibris, 2000. p.150. "My first assignment was in the toddler and preteen department. At first the store management, not completely trusting the job applications which had been filled out by eager young employees, did not assign a cash register drawer to uts new employees. Instead when we had a sale, we had to collect the customer's money, and fill out a sales slip with its calculations of price plus tax and change. Then we had to place the paperwork and money into a tube, place the tube into the vacuum system connected with the upstairs cashier's cage, and shoot it off in a whoosh of the vacuum tube system. Whoosh would come back the verified slip and the change back, sometimes not very quickly... Fortunately, I must have scored quickly in this contest with the tube, for I soon had a register drawer and better rapport with the customer."
The Modern draper: the draper's encyclopaedia. London: Caxton, 1924. 3 vols. Vol. 2 has a plate showing a drapery department with pneumatic tube stations where the containers fall into baskets, and a plate showing a hosiery department with a cash ball system. Neither shop is identified. A drawback of the pneumatic tube system is said to be that air-pockets can develop in the one of the tubes. Cash balls, though not decorative, are "a good all-round useful system." (vol.3, p.28)
Modern drapery and allied trades: wholesale and retail. Vol. III. London: Gresham. "The new forms of wire carriers are simpler, more attractive, and less liable to cause an accident [than cash ball systems]. The best form of cash carrier is the LAmson pneumatic tube. Its installation is somewhat costly, but its superiority over all other contrivances is pronounced. It alone can centralize the cash and accounts of every corner or even the largest establishments." (p. 123)
MORRISON, Kathryn A. English shops and shopping: an architectural history. (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2003). Photograph of Grouts, Palmers Green on p.76. Also mentions pneumatic tube system at on p.166. "For security reasons many supermarkets have one-way pneumatic tubes so that surplus cash in tills towards the front of the store can be sent to a central cash area", p.282.
MORTIMER, Penelope. About time: an aspect of autobiography. (London: Allen Lane, 1979. "[Shops where] money and receipts whizzed (overhead) along wires from the counter to the cashier and back again."
MOSS, Michael and TURTON, Alison. A legend of retailing: House of Fraser. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989
p.58, "The first Scottish cash-carrying system was installed in Glasgow at Arnott & Co's Jamaica Street warehouse in 1885. Walter Wilson swiftly copied the idea, installing a cash railway in his Colosseum warehouse in the same year."
p.84, Pettigrew & Stephens opened in 1901 and had a pneumatic tube system.
p.168, Photograph of an "Aldershot store" [presumably Thomas White] in the early 1950s with an exposed pneumatic tube.
MUNRO, Neil. Jimmy Swan (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2002) p.89 "What ails ye at a cash railway, man? Or if ye canna hae a railway, can ye no' keep your cash beside your coonter."
MURPHY, W.S. Modern drapery and allied trades, wholesale and retail. (London: Gresham, 1915). Vol.3,p.79 "The cash railway .. was the forerunner of several systems for mechanically transmitting money to a central point, and is still in operation in many houses... The best form of cash carrier is the Lamson pneumatic tube."
NAUGHTIE, James. The accidental American: Tony Blair and the presidency. (Public Affairs, 2004) p. 159, "Money and receipts from the sales desk to the cashier and back again, with much rattling and whooshing as the little canisters whizzed up the pipe."
NELSON, Sarah M. Denver: an archaeological history. (Univ. Pennsylvania Press, 2001) p.229 "No archaeologist has evidently unearthed examples of pneumatic tubes in the dry goods stores that sucked up cylinders of cash from the clerk's station and blew them back from the central cashier's booth with change and receipt. And if not the pneumatic tube, the overhead wire that carried baskets within payments to the cashier's box overhead and beyond and back. (The clerk sent the basket on its way with a pull cord that gave it a mighty push, which the carrier reciprocated.) Thus the marvels of modern merchandising before the cash register gave way to the computer and cash drawer."
NESBITT, R. At Arnotts of Dublin 1843-1993. (Dublin: A & A Farmar, 1993) p.37,"A Lamson cash ball railway system was ordered for the temporary shop" [in Abbey Street, following a fire on 4 May 1894]. p.44, "The lifts and the Lamson pneumatic cash system worked off the same engines" [in 1899]. p.117, "On one occasion a boy, Tommy Creighton, caught a mouse and put it into one of the Lamson tube carriers and ran down to the cash office to see the effect. Imagine the uproar among the ladies when the carrier was opened!" p.129, "To cope with the work of giving change in our increasing cash trade we installed after the war a new Lamson pneumatic tube cash system. This was inadequate. In busy departments at lunchtime peaks the delivery of change was at times so slow that the senior superintendent, Martin Lawless, would run downstairs to find out what had happened to it or, in desperation and somewhat to the surprise of the customer, give change out of his own pocket. Within about fifteen years most of the retail departments on the ground floor had cash registers."
NEWARK, Roger. Your change, madam. Letter in Best of British, August 2011, p72. Recalls the system in Evans and Davies, Palmers Green and includes my photograph of the Gipe system in Grouts.
New Zealand Tablet, 15 Feb. 1889, p.25 "Notes on a trip from Wellington, N.Z., to Boston (Mass.), United States... I may mention what struck me as a very neat invention.. the Cash Railway System which is used in all the stores in the States. Two brass lines of rail run all round the shop or store; there are little baskets of brass wire suspended over the counters, and when cash is received it is put into a hollow wooden ball and placed in the basket."
NICHOLSON, Arnold. Acme Markets, Inc., 1891-1967: from corner grocery to supermarket chain. (Acme Markets, 1967) "The American Stores put butchers in the stores... Meat sales were cleared through the store cashier via a small cylinder on an overhead wire that sped the sales slip and cash to her and returned the change."
O'HARA, John. The O'Hara generation. (Random House, 1969) p. 327 "Customers had to wait while their money was sent to the back of the store on an overhead trolley, change made, and the change returned in the wooden cup that was screwed to the trolley wire. Tom never did put in an electric cash register."
O'NEILL, Gilda. My East End: a history of cockney London. (London: Viking, 1999) p.204 "There were .. big department stores such as those in Whitechapel, Stratford and Leytonstone... The wat they used to handle the money fascinated me. You would pay your money over the counter and the assistant would put it with the receipt in this little cylinder sort of thing, which she then hooked on to this overhead rail and - whoosh! - it would take off across the shop like a rocket to the cashier's booth."
Occupational psychology (date unknown) p.321 "Departmental store IV. In this South London store a study has been made of the working conditions of the cashiers. Alterations in the tube room machinery and desks have been introduced, yielding an increase in speed per transaction of 9.4 per cent."
Official year book of New South Wales (Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, 1887) p.646 "Order 15 included .. the manufactures of scales, cash railway systems ... All these miscellaneous manufacturing mechanical industries, 24 in number, were within the boundaries of the metropolis."
PALMER, Ken. Cash by wire. In: Dolls House World (29), Jan/Feb 1994. Project to build a one-twelfth scale model of a Rapid Wire propulsion and carrier from "sundry scraps including knicker elastic". Photographs of cash ball system at Beamish and Rapid Wire system at Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, and sketch of Dart system from Ned Williams: Shop in the Black Country.
PASDERMADJIAN, H. The department store: its origins, evolution and economics. (London: Newman, 1954), p.25. "Other technical improvements like the introduction .. of the pneumatic tube system at Marshall Field in 1893".
PERRY, Gordon A. Shops, stores
and markets. (London: Blandford, 1974). "An idea
that came from America was to use hollow balls, made in two sections, so that
the money and the bill could be placed inside. The balls were rolled along special
overhead tracks between the various assistants' serving positions and the cashier.
The next invention was a number of overhead wires leading from the assistants to the cashier's position. Metal containers in which money could be placed were catapulted along these wires. It was quite amusing to see and hear these little metal cups whizzing along their wire tracks.
A neater system followed, just before the end of the century. Air pressure was used to move cash containers through metal tubes which led from the cashier's desk to various parts of the store. The containers made little noise while on their travels because they had rubber protection pads. Not all shops used these expensive systems. Instead, they could use the early forms of cash registers which were available before 1900."
PHELPS, Clyde William. Retail credit fundamentals. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1947) p.153. Describes eight "communication systems" for carrying charge checking information: personal system; basket and cup carriers; cable carrier; pneumatic tube; charge phone; etc. "At the outbreak of World War II, there were still about 4,000 users of each of the systems just mentioned (basket, cup and cable), but manufacture of these has been discontinued in favor of the more modern methods."
PLUNKETT, James. The gems she wore: a book of Irish places. (Hutchinson, 1972) p.54 "Assisants with pencils behind their ears screwed bills and money together into little cnisters mounted on overhead wires which whizzed across the shops when they pulled the lever, and delivered their contents to the cashiers where they were checked, the bills receipted, and the change ..."
Police Journal, 1928, p.175 "An enterprising young lady in a London store found that all she had to do was to make out a refund docket, add the first name and address that came into her head, scribble a signature and send it up the Lamson tube to the counting house."
POLLON, Frances. Shopkeepers and shoppers: a social history of retailing in New South Wales from
1788. (Sydney: Retail Traders' Assoc. of NSW, 1989)
p224, photograph of State Stores, Redfern Hill.
p.362, "Care of cash".
p.364 "An early attempt at the idea of the ball and wire had been tried out in 1880, but it was 1895 before it was successfully operative here. Anthony Hordern's was the first retailer to try 'the tube system' in 1910."
POPE, Walter J.M. Twenty shillings in the pound. (London: Hutchison, 1949) p.226 "Favourite drapers' shops had a method of getting change which was also fascinating. Taking a large wooden ball, the assistant unscrewed it. Then she placed the bill and the money in the cavity within and, screwing it up again, put it in a kind of upright shoot. She either pulled something or worked a lever. The ball shot up the shoot, and by means of a kind of 'points' system (a pair of wooden arms) it found itself on an ovehead railway track along which it travelled to a cashier perched high above the world of drapery. It never lost its way, be the shop never so large. It returned, eagerly watched throughout as much of its journey as was within eyesight, and it fell, after a momentary hesitation, into a little net at the bottom of the shoot. The employee took out the change and the entrancing experience was over... It can still be seen here and there, giving delight to mechanical-minded children of the machine age. "
POWELL, E. Alexander. That contemptible little army. [The British Army seen by an American journalist in 1916] "Where the light railways stop the monorail systems begin, food, cartridges, and mail being sent right up into the forward trenches in small cars or baskets suspended from a single overhead rail and pushed by hand. They look not unlike the old-fashioned cash-and-parcel carriers which were used in American department stores before the present system of pneumatic tubes came in."
PRIESTLEY, Susan. Making their mark. (Fairfax, Syme & Weldon, 1984) p.135. "Moreover, cash registers had been installed to do away with the tedious wait for change necessary in older stores where all money was handled by a central cash office. In larger stores such money was transferred between cash office and serving counter in metal canisters shot through vacuum tubes or mechanically propelled along overhead wires. Some stores still had these change carriers working after the Second World War."
PROCTOR, Molly. Are you being served, madam?: shopping at the drapers in bygone Kent. (Rainham: Meresborough, 1987). Cover has a splendid photograph of a Rapid Wire system being used at Kerr's, Dartford around 1970. Describes concisely the Cash Ball, wire, and pneumatic systems and includes an advertisement by the Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co. of 1900.
RENAULT, Kenneth C. The le Riches story: 175 years of progress. (Chichester: Phillimore, 1993) p.83. "As the customers handed their purchase money to the assistant it was placed, with the handwritten invoice, in a neat circular tub which was quickly inserted into a carrier overhead. The assistant pulled a spring release which sent the carrier singing along the wire to a central cashier's cabin at the back of the shop where a lady, two perhaps at a busy branch, took out the invoice and payment, placed the change in the tub and sent it back along the wire to the customer at the counter. This was the feeling and the normal routine in 1949-50." There are two interior photographs of the grocery department at 49 High Street, Guernsey on page 82.
ROBINSON, Oliver Preston and NORRIS, B.Brisco. Retail store organization and management. (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1938) p.350. "Receipts from cash sales may be handled in one of three ways...(1) Central cashiers. Communication between a central cashiering station and key spots on the selling floors is generally established by a pneumatic tube system in large stores. Each tube outlet or station on the floor is numbered, and correspondingly numbered carriers are assigned to the station. Carriers sent through the tube take the money and the salescheck to the cashiers and return change and the authorized salescheck to the salesclerk...
The tube system provides the closest control of cash received but has some outstanding disadvantages:
1. It requires a salescheck to be made out for each sale.
2 It forces the customer to wait...
3. In very busy sections, or in peak periods, tube facilities are not usually sufficiently flexible to handle the volume. The tube system is especially applicable to sections where the number of transactions is small, the average sale very high, and where it can be used in conjunction with a charge authorization system."
ROWSOME, Frank. Trolley car treasury: a century of American streetcars - horsecars, cable cars, interurbans, and trolleys. (McGraw Hill, 1956) p.49. "Anyone old enough to recall the unlikely contrivance of cords and pulleys that, years ago, was used to make change in stores will have an excellent notion of how cable cars worked. This was the wondrous mechanism that whisked your money off overhead in a tiny carriage, darting to the cashier in the balcony like a homing pigeon and then trundling back with your change wrapped in a sales slip. It was, in essential respects, a miniature cable-car system."
SADDLEMEYER, Ann. Becoming George: the life of Mrs W.B.Yeats. (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002), p.18. "For children fresh from the country, even the local shops with their overhead cash-railway system, whistling from assistant to cashier and back, were an adventure."
SAUNDERS, William Lawrence. Compressed air information: or a cyclopedia containing practical papers on the production ... (1903) p.888, "Fig. 347 shows the terminals in the office of the cashier and assistant cashier... The operation of this system is about as follows: The carrier is placed in the tube..."
SCANNELL, Philip L. and PETTS, Arthur F. A study of the pneumatic cash carrer system of a depatment store. (Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., 1914). I have not seen this book but it is listed in Google Books.
SCHLÈBER, Louis E. The modern store. (Boston, Mass: Lamson Co., ) Several mentions and photographs of the
Lamson Pneumatic Tube system.
p 12, "On this floor [the basement] is located the Central Lamson Pneumatic Tube Desk, comprising four banks of tubes. Through modern methods of separating carriers, the cashiers on one side of a bank of tubes, and the authorizers on the other side, can both remove their respective carriers directly from the receiving chutes with no delays incident to relaying or passing carriers. This ensures the same prompt and efficient service to all store patrons regardless of whether they are cash or charge customers.
"By means of the Lamson Indicating Monitor the supervising cashier and charge supervisor can at all times be sure that the customers of the store are receiving the quick service that they expect. The total number of carriers handled by each clerk is recorded by this mechanism on counting wheels."
Scientific American, 21 Mar. 1903, vol. 88, p. 201. The pneumatic tube system of a modern department store. 5 illustrations including the cashier's office and power plant - store not specified.
See how it works / [Staton Abbey and many other conrtibutors]. (London: Odhams, 1949). pp. 331-335. Message delivery tubes: transmission of packages by compressed air. Description of how pneumatic tube systems work with 5 figures.
SIMMONDS, W.H. Practical grocer: a manual and guide for the grocer, the provision merchant and allied trades. (London: Gresham, 1912), p. 88 "In fitting up the shop a labour-saving device of importance is the cash railway, now very largely used. There are various forms of this convenience, but, in brief, the plan is to economize the time of assistants serving customers, by giving them a speedy mode of transmitting to the cashier’s desk the bill and cash, and receiving therefrom the receipted bill with the change. A wire “ railway ” traverses the shop from counter to cashier’s desk, and carries a ball or other carrier in which the assistant places the bill and coin he requires to send to the cashier. The pneumatic tube with leather cylinder carrier is also used in certain circumstances, the system employed being adapted to the shop itself and its requirements. The use of the pneumatic tube in large stores is increasing with the growth of these mammoth emporia. From each department tubes run to one common centre, say a room in the basement. The assistant serving a customer makes out a bill and receives the money, encloses the money in the bill and places the two in the pneumatic carrier. In the basement room the cashier receives the carrier, opens it, tears the duplicate check number from the bottom of the bill and files it, wraps the change in the bill, and fires the carrier back through the tube. Meanwhile the customer’s parcel has been wrapped up. If the customer has an account at the store the same procedure is followed, except that the bill, without the money, is handed by the cashier to a ledger-clerk to verify the customer’s name by reference to the account."
SITTON, Thad and CONRAD, James H. Nameless towns: Texas sawmill communities, 1880-1942, (Austin: Univ. of Texas, 1998) p.58 "At the epicenter of company towns like Manning lay the big company commissary store... Cashiers sat upstairs in cages at the centers of spiders' webs of wires radiating to every department in the stores below. With every transaction, company money and paperwork whizzed up to them along wires, then change and receipts whizzed back down."
SITTON, Thad and UTLEY, Dan K. From can see to can't: Texas cotton farmers on the southern praries. (Austin: Univ. of Texas, 1997) p.34 "Wonderful department stores that whizzed customers' money in capsules along wires into high cages manned by men in green eye-shades, then whizzed the receipts back down."
SMITH, Alfred E. in New Outlook
(1935) p.1 "As automatically as in the working of a cash-railway, without
any movement of switches, the two trains pass each other."
"and especially on desks for cash girls in the pneumatic-tube room. This last is a model of planning based on careful time studies. It is possible, because it has been done, for a girl to make change 300 times."
SOMAKE, E.E. and HELLBERG, R. Shops and stores today: their design, planning and organisation. (London: Batsford,
1956). p.92 "If a centralised cashing system is used, cash tubes or perhaps even overhead wireways, will be used between each island and the csh office. Wireways are now obsolete, but pneumatic tubes are still used.
• p. 100 "If pneumatic tubes transfer cash from counter to cash office, the latter can be sited anywhere... A pneumatic tube room requires a central table layout with banked tubes discharging cash carriers over benches. After attention, the carriers, now containing receipt and change, are sent back directly or dropped onto conveyors and run to a return routing system."
• p.187 "These tubes .. must be installed with bends of wide radius, which makes their placing very difficult."
SPARK, Muriel. Curriculum vitae: autobiography. (London: Constable, 1992). Spark was born in Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh in 1918. Page 34: "The main feature of interest in the large draper's shop on the opposite side of the street was a system of overhead pneumatic tubes that carried containers of money from the customer, via the assistant, to the counting house, and sent back the change. The shop assistant wrapped our money in the invoice and packed it into the egg-shaped receptacle that she pulled down from a wire dangling above her head. This would then shoot up and away. On its return a bell would ring and the assistant would reach up and pull down our change wrapped in its cocoon. I used to love to watch these money-containers whizzing between the various departments and the glassed-in office." [The "wire above her head" and being able to watch the containers whizzing along are more suggestive of a wire system.]
STREET-PORTER, Janet. Baggage: my childhood. (2004). Recalls the pneumatic tube system at Barbers, Fulham. She wondered where the tubes went to.
STRICKLAND, Margot. The Byron women. (London: Owen, 1974) p.204 "Charles Babbage .. invented the useful little tinkling cash trolley running on overhead wires which was to become such a feature of shops everywhere."
Sunday Express Magazine, Nov. 2000. [Describing the Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre, Blackheath.] "Very few of us under the age of 40 are likely to have heard of the Lamson Rapid Wire Cash System, let alone seen it in operation. Certainly, none of the class of eight-year-olds from St Stephen's Primary School have the remotest idea what exactly the strange apparatus of overhead wires, pulleys and tin cups is designed to do. "Is it to hang decorations on?" Lois asks. "It rings a bell when the door opens!" suggests Martha... Unscrewing the top of the metal cup, she drops a handful of coins into the base. Suddenly she yanks down a handle and the cup whizzes over everyone's heads from one end of the room to the other. "Wow! Cor! Wicked!" chorus the children, demanding to see it again.
References A-D References E-L References T-Z Cash carriers in Fiction