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References in Newspapers and Magazines

Adelong and Tumut Express (NSW), 18 Mar. 1910, p. 3 (on installation of the telephone at the Council Chambers). "No doubt, they will go in for a cash railway system with the 'phone for the payment of rates, i.e., erect compressed air tubes at each street corner, and ratepayers just come along, place their money in the receptacle, and in the twinkling of an eye, the bell rings at the Council Chambers, the clerk picks up the receiver, and out comes the money."

The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 1 Jan. 1930 Christmas rush provides great climax. "At its height .. the season's rush was epitomised by the 23 miles of pneumatic tubing which conveys 'carriers' of cash from all parts of the emporium to central cash desks, messages from one store to another, and telegrams direct to the post office. It takes the largest air turbine outside of the British Isles to keep those tubes in operation at Christmas time."

Age-Herald (Birmingham AL), 31 Jul. 1898, p. 15 Young women who make change. "In places where a very large business is done one of the cash railway or pneumatic tube systems is in operation. These do away with the expense of cashgirls, but add to the cashier's responsibilities, as it is very easy to confuse the different balls or tubes."

Belfast Telegraph, 29 Mar. 1926, p. 10 "Devices planned to facilitate the work of the credit department have been adopted with a primary regard for safety combined with tact. In the large store in question, all departments are directly connected with the credit authorising desk by tube conveyors. The credit carriers of these conveyors carry a red band, which distinguishes them from the cash carriers which are used with the same tube."

Belfast Telegraph, 15 Nov. 1950, p. 3 "An intriguing solution to the cash desk queue has been found by an Oxford Street store. In their toy department .. they have adopted the old-fashioned draper's catapulted cash ball to childerns ideas of speed and efficiency. Instead of balls they have airships with propellers, whic zoom through the air carrying change and bils."

The Better Way (Cincinati), 9 Jul. 1892, p. 1. "A Philadelphian has devised a method of taking up collections in churches through the cash railway system, as employed in large dry goods establishments, the only difference being that the baskets move slower, enabling donors to deposit their mites as they pass along."

Border Morning Mail (Albury NSW), 24 Apr. 1911, p. 3 (Advertisement for National Cash Register Co.) "Why did John Wanamaker, of New York and Philadelphia, and Messrs. Siegel, Cooper and Co., of New York and Chicago, place registers all round their business to supercede [sic] Pneumatic Tubes? There are no departmental stores in Australia as large as any of these concerns... There is only one reason - because they are the cheapest."

Boston Globe. Stories of certain Massachusetts investment: reprinted from the Boston Globe. (Boston, 1915) p.137. "The American Pneumatic Service Company is a holding company controlling the companies running the pneumatic tubes, which carry great bundles of mail .. and it also controls the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, which makes and sells or leases any kind of pneumatic tubes and carriers, 10 distinct types of wire line cash and message carriers, nine types of parcel carriers, and three of wire vertical lifts, beside many others of older types, which are kept in stock for users of the earlier made carriers. The motto of the company is to substitute machines for men and children as carriers, in every possible way... The Lamson Store Service Company's business has always been a large dividend-paying asset of the company. It has more than 60,000 patrons in the leading companies of the world... In the past its great field has been retail department store work."
• p.138. "It is estimated that a large department store, hiring 300 cash girls or boys, at an annual cost of $46,800 a year for wages alone, can supply their places, at greater speed, with a 200-station pneumatic tube plant at a cost of $50,000 for first installation and $1,250 per year for power, the service nearly paying for itself in one year. The company aims to handle anything in the line of money, mail or merchandise more quickly and more safely than human hands perform the same service."
• "The wire-line cash carrier was the next development, then the wire-line parcel carrier, then the endless cable carrier, and then the pneumatic tubes. These latter are of three types: "vacuum", "vacuo-pressure" and "pressure", according to the method of propulsion employed. The carriers in these tubes range from 2¼ inches in diameter theough 3, 3½, 4 and 5 inches, in use in stores, banks and offices, to the 8-inch and 10-inch carriers in which the great 500-letter and 1000-letter packages of mail whisk."

Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, 4 Oct. 1886. Shop life in Bristol. In one of these [larger establishments] the introduction of the American invention - the 'cash railway' - has materially saved the labour of those at the counter... The change [is] sent back in a little over half a minute... The plan is extended to all the floors, and even to the basement, from which the customer's payment is thus whisked to the ground floor."

Bourbon News, 11 Sep. 1900, p. 3. Some London impressions. "The shops and big stores still cling to the cash boy instead of using the overhead money carrier system. Some day a hystling American will establish a big, modern department store in London and show the English how we do things .. in America."

Buffalo News, 4 Dec. 1994. When department stores were wrapped in tubing. "For any department store, pneumatic tubes made a statement. The ultimate in technology had been struck. Their very sound suggested the speed of wind. Such tubing provided a system of inter-department communication. Once slipped into a tube access, the capsule was whooshed away like a missile into outer space. To remember the pneumatic tube is to recollect the golden years in retailing history."

Canadian Grocer, 1 Jun. 1900, p. 48. Bookkeping for a retail store. "I believe a cash railway, or carrier, will pay for itself in a very short time."

Catholic Advocate (Brisbane), 31 Aug. 1912, p. 40. "Putting out her hand quickly, she opened the valve of the sending side in the pneumatic cash carrier. The hiss of sucking air responded. Here was her chance to send a message... She folded the sheet of paper, stuffed it into the spool-shaped carrier, and slipped the carrier into the tube. Instantly it was gone."

The Century: illustrated monthly magazine, vol. 24 no. 6, Oct. 1882, pp.956-8. "Shop conveniences." (Not about WCs!) Mentions three systems: a monorail with two-wheel cars, the pneumatic dispatch tube, and the cash ball system. No manufacturers or locations are named.

Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore), 3 Jun. 1922, p. 8 [In Paris post office.] "An overhead transporter, like the travelling cash trolley in some London shops, is to be installed along the counter to enable the clerks to communicate with each other without strolling down the office."

Clothier and Furnisher (date unknown) p.62 "150 feet deep, devoted to hats, furnishings and shoes, with a basement devoted to trunks and travelling bags, and the second floor to clothing. They have a patent cash system run on overhead wires."

Cromwell Argus (NZ), 31 May 1898, p. 3. "An enterprising Chicagoan has turned his attention to the prevailing methods of 'taking up a collection' in churches, and has decided that they are all behind the times... He has accordingly devised an affair which sounds amazingly like the cash railway in a big drapery shop. Wires are to be arranged in the church... A box attached to a wire begins to travel from pew to pew .. and then returns to its safe harbour beneath the minister's eye."

Crystal River Current (Crystal, Colo.), 28 May 1887, p. 2 "Most of the girls get $2.50, and probably one hundred get $3 a week. The innovation of the cash railway, now in general use in the big stores, has done away with the necessity of having many cash girls. Little girls are preferred to little boys, because they are less mischevious and can be depended upon more generally."

Daily Commercial News and Shipping List (Sydney, NSW), 2 Jul. 1919, p. 10. "The Lamson Service includes pneumatic tubes, mechanical conveyors,light lifts, wire message and parcel carriers, cash carriers, belt conveyors, and in fact everything for the transport of light-weight matter for warehouses, factories, stores, shops, offices [etc.]"

Daily Mirror, 5 Apr. 1915, p.4. "It is a fact that the arms of shopgirls who push all day at a pneumatic tube for sending cash about .. are usually beautifully developed."

Daily News (Perth WA), 15 May 1935, p. 4. "Even the cash tubes know it. Says one to another as they meet in the cash department of a large city store: 'This is the umpteenth pink Government cheque I've carried lately, and heaven knows how many crackling new Treasury notes. What's happened? Trade boom?'"

Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 7 Mar. 1896, p. 7. "These machines [cash registers] were purchased to replace the Lamson Cash Carriers. Your Registers reduce the possibility of fraud on the part of the salesman, and save the petty thefts of the cashier."

Devon Evening Express, 7 Feb. 1899, p. 1 "They say: That a certain Strand tradesman, owing to increase of business, contemplates erecting a 'cash-railway' from his business premises to a neighbouring bank."

Dominion (NZ), 15 Sep. 1908, p. 5 "Mr. James Douglas has an entertaining description of appreciation of Mr. Lewis Waller... His superb eyes are admirably trained... You could hang your umbrella on their glances... You could use them as a cash railway."

Draper's Record
• 16 March 1895, p.687. Advertisement for the Castle Cash Carrier
• 17 March 1900, p.676. Surburban London's latest emporium - John Barnes & Co., Hampstead.
• 15 September 1900. Full page advertisement for Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co.
• 17 September 1904, p.787 Full page advertisement for Lamson Store Service Co. and Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co. "Branches and agencies throughout the Eastern hemisphere." The Lamson Ball cash railway is "the only gravity system extant."

Dundee Courier
• 25 Jun. 1910, p4. " We find Strassburg a most interesting place .. but the sending of the purchaser to the cashier's desk to pay in exchange for the parcels is far behind the Lanson [sic] Tube cash carrier system in vogue in smart shops at home, and in America."
• 25 Dec. 1913, p. 5. [Reporting an electricity failure] "We have a cash railway, and as it is operated by electricity it gave up and, as it happened, some of our customers' change was in it."
19 Jan. 1926, p. 7. "If the play requires a shop, the audience demand to look at a shop in all its perfection - from the goods to be sold down to the cash railway."

Dundee Evening Telegraph, 28 Mar. 1898, p. 2 "A propos of our being called a nation of shopkeepers... Two young London shopmen who volunteered to fight for Greece .. are lying with their comrades under the fire of the Turks. The strange grinding noise of shrapnel shot is filling the air... 'It's like an overhead cash railway in a draper's shop', said Simson."
• 5 Aug. 1904 "Shopping in Paris... You take your departure, sighing for the expeditious cash railway or even cash girl that you are accustomed to."

Dunkirk [New York] Observer-Journal, 7 Feb. 1889, p.2. "There are many large stores in Tokyo, and these, as a rule, do their business on strict business principles. They have many clerks, but the cash boy and the elevated cash railway are unknown."

Electrical engineer (date unknown) p.24 "The Lamson Store Service Co. have a variety of cash railways run by a ½-h.p. Eddy motor."

Evening Times [Washington], 8 Aug. 1899, p. 4 "Clara (at the seadside) - That fellow who just came in is nothing but a dry goods clerk. Maud - How do you know? Clara - When the driver gave him a bill in change he involuntarily held it over his head and felt for the cash trolley-box."

Geelong Advertiser, 2 Feb. 1914, p. 4. "Beetle plague in Melbourne... Into the more brilliantly illuminated shops went the beetles, and taking up position on the pneumatic cash tubes soon blocked the running of the 'change' balls." [This seems to confuse pneumatic tube and cash ball systems.]

Gentleman's Magazine, p.549 "I prefer the picturesque orientalism of the marchand chez soi to the more Western commonplace of a shop counter, a cash railway, and a fixed price."

Glasgow Herald, 11 Nov. 1897, p. 11. "It is desirable to remove, as far as may be possible, temprtations to evil from boys in shops and offices... The overhead cash railway in warehouses obtains favour as an approximately perfect safeguard."

Gloucester Journal, 16 Dec. 1922, p. 1. "'Business Methods' was the subject of the address at the Gloucester Rotary Club .. the speaker being Rotarian F. J. Pope... He was a believer in spending money to save money, and in this connection he pointed to the value of the cash railway system in shops to obviate the necessity of assistants standing in queues at the cash desks as was the case in the old day."

The Graphic, 23 Jun. 1917, p. 14 "Mr. Irwin is an American, and so he likens the teleferica to a gigantic cash-carrier such as are in use in department stores."

Halifax Evening Courier, 6 Oct. 1925, p. 4. "The first cash railway installed was worked by gravity, but that was very slow and limited by the clearance space in a room. From that came the steel wire and catapult type. Slowness was the fault of these systems."

Hastings & St Leonards Observer, 27 July 1940, p. 6. "A most entertaining and inventive personality has been lost to Hastings with the death of Mr. F.L.Smith, the tobacconist and newsagent, of Pelham-place... It was always a subject of regret to him that his tiny premises offered no scope for the installation of a home-made overhead cash carrier, to run on rails from the counter to some distant counting house!"

Herald (Tamworth), 11 Dec. 1915, p.2. "His dear Irish girl... They emerged upon the ground floor of Messrs. Waterson... Cash railways had not penetrated to Ballysillan. She voted them 'just spiffing.'"

Independent (Footscray, Vic.), 13 Aug. 1982, p.2. A letter from four employees of F. Long and Co., Footscray, refuting the claim that C.J. Polain had left some drawings in the shop which Long and others had copied. "F. Long's invention is compressed air, causing the propulsion of the car along a single level wire, and has no springs nor overhead wire about it."

Industrial psychology monthly: the magazine of manpower (1927/8) p.21 "There are three tube rooms with about eighty cashiers divided between them... As soon as a carrier strikes the belt, the first cashier takes it up." Presumably this is the same study as reported in Anderson.
p.22 "The tube rooms are fairly noisy places and on busy days there is considerable confusion."

Ireland's Saturday Night, 21 Oct. 1933, p. 1 "The pneumatic tube system of centralised cash, which is gradually replacing the 'railway' and 'catapult' types in several Belfast stores, has provoked some speculation as to how it operates...
The railway system of centralised cash still functions in several Belfast shops. Despite the complication of rails and wires is [sic] is surprisingly efficient. One feature open to criticism is the exposed nature of the whole system, but actually there is a slight gain in this, for if a hitch occurs anywhere it only requires a glance along the rails to locate the fault at once."

Isolated plant [date not known] p.16 "A Lamson cash tube system having 22 stations, with a central station in the basement, is so arranged that it can be increased to 50 stations upon completion of the building."

Iowa Journal of history [date not known] p.238 "Another invention which originated in Atlantic, revolutionary in its nature, was the cash carrier for mercantile establishments, designed by Louis Bostedo, junior member of the department store firm of A.L.Bostedo and Son. The first cash carriers ever used, so far as I am informed, were used in that establishment. Subsequently the idea of pneumatic tube equipment was adopted by the inventor. And on this groundwork was laid the efficient systems in large establishments today. The patents were subsequently sold by Mr Bostedo to the Lamson Company, makers of all sorts of tube communication and conveyor systems."

John Bull, 2 May 1936, p. 38 "Those overhead cash railways of a bygone day used to cost a big store over £1,000 a year. They certainly did run away with the money."

Leicester Daily Mercury, 17 Sep. 1969, p. 18. "Small boys, being tugged helplessly around the shops by their mothers on Saturday mornings, could ease their boredom by venting their curiosity on this early monorail system."

Manufacturer and Builder, vol. 13, no.1, Jan. 1881, p.20. Pneumatic tubes supersede cash boys. "An enterprising Philadelphian, Mr John Wanamaker, has gone a step further... This system not only saves time and noise, but the wages of an army of boys or girls, besides discharging a large amount of fresh air into the building, greatly improving ventilation." (Cornell University website)

Manufacturer and Builder, vol. 24, no. 12, Dec. 1892, (Advertisement) "The Meteor Despatch Co., Manufacturers of Pneumatic Tubes. For the Safe, Rapid and Certain Carriage of Cash, papers or Messages in Stores, Newspaper Offices, Banks, Factories and Public Buildings. Systems adapted for Foot, Steam or Electric Power, erected in any part of the country. Offices: 89 State Street, Boston; 23 East 14th Street, New York; and 181 Fifth Avenue, Chicago."

Marion [Ohio] Daily Star, 30 Jul. 1898, p.3 "In places where a very large business is done one of the cash railway or pneumatic tube systems is in operation. These do away with the expense of cashgirls but add to the cashier's responsibilities, as it is very easy to confuse the different balls or tubes."

Mudgee [NSW] Guardian, 31 Oct. 1940, p. 11. "The little cash railroad. So put everything subscribed into the little cash railway and shoot it down to Sydney, centralise it, pool it. tie red tape round it."

New York Times, 7 Dec. 1889, p.1. "A big transaction completed. Mansfield, Ohio, Dec. 6 - The biggest business transaction of the year in this city was completed last night by the Barr Cash and Package Carrier Company of this place and the Lamson Store Service Company of New-York. The stock of the first named company was sold to the New-York concern for $200,000. The negotiations have been on nearly a year, during which time there has been some litigation about patents, and a damage suit for $150,000 for libel, brought by the Lamson people, but the preliminary steps of this suit were decided against the Lamson Company. Samuel Barr, the inventor, gets $500,000."

New York Times, 19 Jul. 1891, p.11. "After counting it [the customer's payment in small change] over twice, the clerk had to charter two extra trains on the cash railway in order to get the money to the cashier's desk."

New York Times, 18 Oct. 1904, p.25 "Trolley cash railway systems which can be used for so many delightful house plays for the children cost 25 and 50 cents. With the more expensive railway comes the money for use in the business."

New Zealand Tablet, 15 Feb. 1889, p.25. "I may mention what struck me as a very neat invention.. and that is the Cash Railway System which is used in all the stores in the States."

Nottingham Journal, 29 Apr. 1941, p. 2. "Overhead 'cash railways' in stores are very costly, according to a Nottingham business man. They certainly run away with money."

Ottawa Free Press, 11 Apr. 1916, p. 5. "Mr W.P. Grant, local representative of the National Cash Register Company .. declared that after years of trials with all kinds of shopping systems - cash carriers, cash tubes, central cash offices .. - the big stores are going back to the old-fashioned scheme of the clerk wrapping up his old [sic] sales."

Popular Mechanics, March 1924, p.447. "Alarm for Pneumatic-Tube System. Persons familiar with pneumatic-tube systems in large stors realize the inconvenience caused customers by delay of the cashiers to open the carriers immediately when received, as it often occurs that they are allowed to lie in the baskets for several minutes before they are even noticed. This trouble was eliminated in a large department store by providing a buzzer which was sounded automatically by the weight of the tubes in the receiving basket. The arrangement is clearly shown in the illustration."

Portsmouth Evening News, 24 Aug. 1891, p. 3. A bit of human rubbish "Patient buyers are awaiting the advent of the automaton that some future store service company will supply with its cash carriers - a model sales-machine that will be neither impertinent nor disobliging."

Preston Herald, 30 Sep. 1911, p. 11 Don't buy fossils - buy corsets. "Next thing that happens is, the lady's money is travelling on the cash railway."

Punch, 1992?, p. 210 "Presently the farce, like Mr Mould's overhead cash-carrier, swoops down the customary track."

San Francisco Call, 4 Nov. 1907, p. 6 (Referring to aphorisms in advertisements) "Does that sort of stuff make the cash railway hum?"

Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 23 Nov. 1897, p. 3. "You lay down a soverign for your '19s. 11¾d.' article. The soverign is sent on the 'cash railway' to the cashier, and the assistant always manages to have the parcel duly put up .. as the carrier returns from the cashier, and then with all the dignity imaginable, the assistant hands you your farthing."

Stamford Mercury, 17 Aug. 1894, p. 8. "Locksmith, whitesmith, and bellhanger .. wanted. One who understands cash railways preferred. Apply Chas. Constantine, ironmonger, Sheffield." (Constantine was a wholesale ironmonger, based at 35 Carver Street. I'm not sure whether a cash railway was used in their shop or whether they wanted someone to service cash railways.)

Sunday Post, 23 Mar. 1919, p.7 "Novel solution of the housing problem... A miniature automatic carrier system, like the cash-carriers of the large drapery establishments, will run on a track below the house floors, and will be accessible from an opening in the dining-hall wall. This carrier system would be used to carry meals from the communal kitchen to the dining-room sideboard, ready to be served."

Sunday Vindicator (Youngstown, Ohio), 31 July 1898, p.8 "In smaller shops the cash register is in use and greatly simplifies the work of the cashier. In places where a very large business is done one of the cash railway or pneumatic tube systems is in operation. These do away with the expense of cashgirls, but add to the cashier's responsibilities, as it is very easy to confuse the different balls or tubes."

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Jan. 1903, p. 12. "I would like personally to show them how one firm [in New York] does business, with the assistance of 4000 employees, in a building in which the floor space is 24 acres... An innovation here introduced for the first time is the pneumatic parcel tube. Formerly only the purchase money and the right change back was passed through the tube, but now your purchase descends also to the huge receiving-room, where it is wrapped up and returned like a flash to the employee who makes the sale. There are 18 miles of this brass tubing in the pneumatic system."

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 10 Dec. 1935, p. 11. "An organisation consisting of five stores had a maximum [electricity] demand of 4,200 kW... Cash tubes [consumed] from 3.3 per cent to 4.1 per cent."

Washington Herald, 30 Nov. 1919, p. 8 "The young East Side girls forget their plain dresses and the wearing click of the cash trolley for they are transformed into bewitching ladies."

Waterloo [Iowa] Daily Courier, 13 Aug. 1891, p.3. "The old lady emptied out on the counter the contents of a small handbag. The contents were dimes and five cent pieces, and there was a big heap of them... After counting it over twice, the clerk had to charter two extra trains on the cash railway in order to get the money to the cashier's desk."

West Australian (Perth), 24 Mar. 1906, p. 4 "I have noticed that the cash railways in our big stores break down under stress of business. In any case the system is slow and cumbersome. In America, the counters are connected by small pneumatic tubes to a central pay desk. This system is expeditious, and can cope with an amount of business which would absolutely paralyse a cash railway."

Yorkshire Evening Post, 21 Apr. 1908, p. 2 "The cash railway, and an elaborate system of book-keeping, are checks on anybody and everybody, because of the few amongst the many."

References A-D