Home Manufacturers Cash Balls Wire systems Pneumatic systems Locations References Patents

Locations - South Australia

The earliest system I have found was a wire system installed at John Martins in Adelaide in 1887. The first pneumatic tube system is claimed to be at the Coliseum in Adelaide in 1905.



Gawler, Crosbys

Hahndorf, Muggletons


ADELAIDE. C. Birke & Co. "Messrs. C. Birke & Co. are having fitted up in their establishment in Rundle-street two sets of the Lamson Store Ball Service... The receiving desk is elevated about 10 ft., and the 'rails' which are suspended from the roof radiate from it to the different departments... Very shortly the whole of the shop will be spanned by the service. The Company do not sell their rights except at a prohibitive price, and Messrs. Birks & Co. have only a rental of them for a certain number of years. At present sixteen stations are being fitted up, and for eaoh of these a rental of £5 a year has to be paid, and roughly speaking the cost to the firm will be 4d. per day for each station." Adelaide Observer, 16 Aug. 1890, p. 6

ADELAIDE. Catt's Stores. "The firm will adopt new and sensational methods for the selling of boots... An electric cash system, that runs at the rate of 600 feet per minute, is being installed for the quick taking of cash." The Register (Adelaide), 8 Jul. 1918, p. 4

ADELAIDE. City Cash Store. "During the past few months great improvements have been made in the cash railway systems adopted at many of the large retail establishments in Adelaide. Mr. Irwin Bleechmore, the local agent for Lamson's cash railway systems for shops, has completed the erection of an improved system at the City Cash Store in Rundle-street, and without doubt it eclipses anything previously introduced in this line. The ball railway as well as wire carriers have been in use in the principal shops in the city for some time past, but Mr. Bleechmore's latest importation is a much more rapid service, and is decidedly more simple in construction. There are two wires between the station and the cash desk, and above the 'carrier' are four small wheels, one wire passing over two of these and the other wire under the other two. When the 'carrier' is stationary the wires are very close together, but by the use of a small lever they are separated at the extremities, and the pressure on the wheels causes them to revolve, with the result that the 'carrier' is dispatched at great speed to the cash desk. The rate can be regulated to a nicety by the pressure on the lever, and it is possible for either the clerk at the station or the cashier to send the 'carrier' on the return journey. The old catapult system has been entirely done away with, and in many respects the new railway is a marked improvement." The Advertiser (Adelaide), 25 Jan 1895, p.7. This is the Gipe design - Gipe took out his patent in 1892 and it appears that it was already being exploited by Lamson in 1895.

ADELAIDE. Coliseum (drapers), Rundle Street. "The inconvenience is condiserably minimised by the enterprise of the firm in providing a cash railway system... Mr. H.C.Le Bas, the representative of the Lamson Store Service Company, Sydney, erected the system, which is more simple in construction and expeditious in action than older systems in use in Adelaide. The new building was opened on Saturday." Advertiser (Adelaide) 13 Mar. 1899, p.6
• "The Coliseum Drapery Mart, Rundle street, which was recently considerably extended, is now a most up-to-date establishment. The latest improvement and the first of its kind introduced into this State is the installation of the Lamson Store Service Company's most modern system of pneumatic tubes. The system will be found in all the numerous departments on the different floors of the establishment. The special feature of this system is the meteoric speed by which cash can be forwarded from any given point to the cashdesk, which is situated in the basement, where space is least valuable...  A cartridge can be sent from the cash-desk to the fourth floor and returned within 10 seconds...   The tubes are the best drawn seamless brass, and the fittings highly ornamental. Mr. I. A. Bleechmore, of Pirie-street, is the local agent for the system." Advertiser (Adelaide) 4 July 1905, p.8

ADELAIDE. Co-operative Society. "Many additions have been made... Lamson's carriers, &c." Daily Herald (Adelaide), 11 Mar. 1912, p. 3

ADELAIDE. Harris Scarfe & Co., Gawler Place. Messrs Harris Scarfe, & Co., of Gawler place, have recently had the vacuo pressure pneumatic tube system installed by the Lamson Store Service Company through their local agent Mr. Irwin Bleechmore. This is the first system of its kind installed in this State... The suction of air is caused by a blower driven by an electric motor." Register (Adelaide) 27 Jan. 1909, p.4

ADELAIDE. John Martin & Co., Rundle Street. "Any invention that saves time, trouble, and money is deserving of the attention .. and one of these has just been introduced in the drapery establishment of Messrs. J. Martin & Co., of Rundle-street... This has been altered by the adoption of a very ingenious though somewhat simple device, entitled 'The rapid service store railway', invented by an American (Mr. Robert A. McCarty), and developed and brought to perfection by the famous Edison... In a central position on the ground floor is the cashier's sanctum ... Over his head, depending from iron rods fixed to the ceiling, and radiating in a half circle, are a number of nickelplated arms, each holding a small cashbox, set free by the pulling of a cord, and sent with a whirr along a steel wire to a distance of 100 or 150 yards... Messrs. Martin & Co. have .. the sole right of using the machine in this colony for a stated period, and have had to pay a large amount in royalties as well as the cost of the machine... The 14 cars from the central depôt travel at high speed through tunnels in the walls from one shop to another, and a smaller depôt of six cars is erected in the new premises eastward... The cars will mount an incline to the cash-desk as easily as they will run on the level." South Australian Advertiser, 31 May 1887, p. 5 [In fact a patent was awarded to McCarty of Port Huron, Mich. for improvements to the cash ball system in 1883.]
• "Signs of Christmas at Martin Brothers... The cash railway constantly in use." South Australian Register, 24 Dec. 1895, p.6
• "A sub-basement below the department on the lower-ground floor ... houses the lighting switchboard, air pumps and the modern Lamson Store Service Tube System". The big store: 80th anniversary bulletin. Adelaide: John Martin, 1946
• Photograph of Lamson tube cash carrier system, ca 1935 in South Australia State Library - also several exterior vews. "The tube room was located in the sub-basement."

ADELAIDE. Myer Emporium, Rundle Street (formerly James Marshall & Co.). "The newly installed Lamson cash carrier service, which is electrically operated - and reduces 'waiting for change' to a minimum." News (Adelaide), 5 Oct. 1928, p. 7

ADELAIDE. Raphael. "Grocers, drapers, inspect Gravity 'Cash Railway' at Raphael's Novelty shop; £6 10s. complete. Saves labor and public pilfering." Express and Telegraph (Adelaide), 20 Sep. 1892, p. 1 (Advt.)

star ADELAIDE. Malcolm Reid, 187-195 Rundle Street. Building now houses South Australian Writer's Centre. Photograph of eight Rapid Wire propulsions on a circular mounting.

BALAKLAVA. Up-to-Date Store "Recently Mr. N.F. Farrell, proprietor of this establishment, had a commodious showroom erected. He has now further improved his up-to-dateness by having installed what is known as the 'cash railaway'." Wooroora Producer, 21 Jul. 1910, p. 2

BERRI. H.S. Coombe, Denny Street. "The new general hardware and drapery store erected by Mr. H.S. Coombe .. will be opened to the public on Saturday, July 14... On a raised platform, an extensive cash desk is placed, fitted with Lamson's carrier cash system, with nine points, for the receipt of cash." Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record, 13 Jul. 1923, p. 8

starGAWLER. H.B.Crosby Pty. Ltd., Essex House, Murray Street. "It was in 1980 that the 'Flying Foxes' were replaced in Crosby's store but they still attract tourists who are fascinated with the rare relic of early commercial transactions... The 'Flying Fox' system of cash carriers with 13 stations were [sic] installed in 1912 and was manufactured by Lamson Engineering Co. of Adelaide, who also made up spare parts for the carriers." The Bunyip and photos on Walkabout website , Flickr(1) and Flickr(2). There are nine counter positions. "The present managing director, Mr Arthur Cooper.. says the 'Flying Fox' system is just as efficient as it was half a century ago." Lamson Newsletter, July 1973
• "Sheard's Essex House, with its overhead money carriers which ran on wires, taking money to the office and returning with the change.  Reminiscences of Trix McConnell

GLENELG. Ryans. "Ryans at Glenelg SA had a Lamson Cash Carrier system in the 1950s." Eleanor on ABC Open

HAHNDORF. Muggleton's General Store and Restaurant, 38 Main Street. Replica Rapid Wire system made by Vivian Rush Specialty Engineering about 2002. There were two lines in the restaurant and all orders and bills were sent by them. Removed by 2013. V.Rush. Photographs

LOXTON. Eudunda Farmers (hardware, men's and ladies' wear, groceries, drapery). "As an employee in the menswear department, Win wrapped all kinds of clothing items and shoes in brown paper and tied them up with string. She was never however, allowed to handle the money. As many settlers tell, the store had a system whereby the sales assistant placed the docket and the money in a container inside a little wire cage which was whizzed, by an overhead system of cables, to an upstairs cash office. There, a woman would take out the money, work out the payable change, place it in the container, pull a lever and send it back down to the assistant to give to the customer. Vern Hallam recalls that kids loved to go into Eudunda Farmers to watch the little container flying over their heads across the shop." George, Karen. "A place of their own: the men and women of war service land settlement at Loxton after the Second World War". (Kent Town, SA: Wakefield, 1999), p. 283.

MOUNT BARKER. ? "An 'aerial cash railway' has .. been established at Mount Barker." Critic (Adelaide), 3 May 1911, p. 6

PORT AUGUSTA. Young and Gordons. "The Lamson Cash Railway System, the installation of which was completed at Messrs Young and Gordon's, Port Augusta, on Saturday evening last, is the invention of a retail tradesman in America... The system as established .. embraces five stations. At convenient points under counters or shelving a box of cash carrying balls is placed (usually four for each station.) Port Augusta Dispatch, 10 Mar. 1905, p. 3

starQUORN. Fosters Welcome Mart, aka The Great Northern Emporium, aka Emily's Bistro, 45 First Street. "This store still has the original flying fox docket and money transport system... You will always be welcome to come in and have a look at this piece of history." Flinders Ranges Council website. Also Quorndon Magazine, Summer 2002. Some photographs at ABC website and on Flikr. Apparently still there in 2017 Grey Nomads Forum .

YORKETOWN. The Busy Store. "The installation of the 'Premier Rapid Wire Cash Carrier' system throughout 'The Busy Store', Yorketown, will undoubtedly prove of great value to the proprietors and their customers. Even after 10 days in operation a great saving has been noticed in the cost of operations." Pioneer (Yorketown), 30 May 1930, p. 3



starKAPUNDA. Museum, 11 Hill Street in former Baptist Church. "Here you can travel back in time to the days of the old Farmer's Co-operative store... This gadget is a flying fox that sent the money from the counter down to the cashier in the middle of the shop." Postcards website

starSADDLEWORTH. Museum, 34 Burra Road. Wire system from Eunda Farmers store (see LOXTON above). Photo on Flickr

UNLEY. Unley Museum, 80 Edmund Avenue. "Visit the Unley Museum's latest exhibition Shop 'Til You Drop... Kids can use the replica overhead cash carrier ('flying fox')". Unley website . The system was made by Viv Rush. Exhibition ended and system removed in June 2008.


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