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R.F.Stutevant's name on steam-driven fan

STURTEVANTS were a competitor of Lamsons during the late 1920s to 1940s. In a letter of 13 August 1929 they state: "The source of supply for these pneumatic cash tubes is no longer a more or less monopoly as was the case a few years ago as with our entry into this field of work, coupled with over 50 years experience in air handling machinery, we have naturally taken the premier position. "

They were another offshoot of an American company and bought part of Reid Brothers concerned with pneumatic despatch in the early 1920s. They also bought the pneumatic tube business of Cooke, Troughton and Simms. In 1949 they sold their pneumatic tube interests to Lamson Engineering (Times, 27 April 1950).

In 1924 the headquarters was at Hyde Park, Boston, Mass. They had agents in Australia (H.P.Gregory & Co., Sydney) and New Zealand (Blaid, Reed & Co., Nathan's Building, Wellington) but I don't know if they installed any systems in shops. The (Wellington) Evening Post had a pneumatic tube system in 1928.

The photograph on the left is part of a steam-driven ventilating fan made in 1920 and now in the Discovery Museum, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Interestingly, the Lamson factory was heated and ventilated by Sturtevant equipment in 1890. Sturtevant's booklet of 1934 about the Mersey Vehicular Tunnel is entitled "The largest ventilating plant in the world".

Block A of Bletchley Park ("Station X") was to be equipped with Sturtevant tubes for carrying pieces of paper between rooms, "probably at the suggestion of Hugh Alexander who had installed the system in the John Lewis stores where he worked as Chief Scientist pre-war". (Bletchley Park website)

Illustrations from Sturtevant advertisements

History of Sturtevant Engineering Ltd. in England



Sturtevant terminal with basket

Sturtevant terminal against a stanchion casing in a linoleum department (Hammond)

Cash office at Banners

The central cash desk for 75 stations at John Banners, Sheffield, installed by Sturtevant Engineering Co. Ltd. The discharge tubes feed into four chutes and the return tubes are in the background, operated by another clerk.(Photograph from Hammond)

Terminal purchased from antiques shop in the West of England. © Robin Adcroft

Close-up of the same terminal. © Robin Adcroft