THE CASH RAILWAY WEBSITE
Technology Review (date unknown) p. 113, "The Secretary [Edward Galbraith Thomas] has accepted the position of manager of the New York department of the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, and requests all his friends to call upon him at 1269 Broadway. The Lamson Company, in addition to the extension of its store service, cash, and parcel systems, is developing pneumatic and cable carriers for the distribution of mail orders, and any form of printed matter in offices, factories, etc."
This England. The first mention was in the Winter 1974 issue and the editor invited readers to write in with systems they knew of. In Spring 1975 there was an article "All change for the overhead cash railway" pages 32-33 with three letters from readers, two cartoons and four photographs. Alan Tribe of Lamsons said there were around fifty Rapid Wire systems still operating and seven were listed. Four more letters were published in the Summer 1975 issue.
THOMAS, Helen with THOMAS, Myfanwy. Under storm's wing (Manchester: Carcanet, 1988) p.267. "The big draper's shop was a special magical pleasure for it had a cash railway. When the shop assistant screwed the bill and the money into the little cylinder, put it on the wire with a neat twist and pulled the brass handle, so that the cylinder whizzed out of sight along the wire close to the ceiling - how in the world did it return a moment later with exactly the right change? Oh happy shop-lady, who measured yards of ribbon .. and had charge of the cash railway. Sometimes instead of a farthing change one was given a pink paper neatly stuck with several rows of dressmaker's pins."
THOMAS, William I. Sex and society: studies in the social psychology of sex. (1907). p 310. "Anyone who will watch girls making change before the pneumatic tubes in the great department stores about Christmas time will experience the same wonder one feels on first seeing a professional gambler shuffling cards."
The Times. 29 December, 1887. "Cashier - A young man, thoroughly conversant with the Lamson Store Service
system, seeks an engagement as above." (This must be one of the fist mentions
of cash carriers in a British newspaper.)
6 April 1906, p.12. "Fire last night seriously damaged the factory of the Lamson Pneumatic Tube Company, Limited, in Hythe Road, Willesden Junction... About 70 people were employed in the factory but only a few were in the building. (An article the next day quotes the staff as several hundreds.)
22 September 1908, p.10. At the Grocers Exhibition at the Royal Agricultural Hall, the Lamson Store Service Co. showed appliances for cash carrying.
There are Lamson Pneumatic Tube Company advertisements in 26 May 1909 and frequently up to 1913.
28 January 1914, p.25. Lamson Pneumatic Tube Comapny, London, E.C., say that the past year saw large developments in their branch of engineering, and they added the names of many important concerns to their list of customers... An innovation is the Lamson Pick-up, or mechanical messenger service, which picks up documents placed on a tray.
27 January 1937, p.21. "Lamson Engineering Co. Ltd. was recently incorporated to acquire the businesses and net trading assets of Lamson Store Service Co. Ltd. and Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co. Ltd." The address of each is 132 Cheapside and the directors are Sir Alan McLean, Richard Graham and Paul Herrick Kelly.
TISSANDIER, Albert. Journal (1885?), translated by Mary F. Francey, ch. 2. "At both the Louvre and Bon Marché, women shoppers find it particularly annoying to pay at a register... This problem does not exist at the Sharpless Brothers stores where shoppers do not have to move; instead they pay the employee who has served them directly who then puts the money and the bill in a wooden ball, raises it up to the little slide which dips down as soon as the ball is received and lances it on a small inclined railway of wood rails edged with leather... The counters are numerous; the balls are all of different diameters and numbered to avoid confusion... Invented by Mr Lamcon [sic]... Already employed in several cities in the United States including Philadelphia, Cincinnati and San Francisco."
A survey of interiors of modern co-operative stores.(Manchester: Co-operative
p.10. Photograph of "the bungalow emporium" with two-wire system.
p.14 Photographs of sweets counter and grocery counter, both with pneumatic tube stations. Also footwear section on p.43.
p.52 Photograph of cash receiving and sales analysis section with about 18 in and out tubes
p.59 "The centralization of cash collection has demanded special equipment, owing to the greater volume of sales. Particularly is this the case in Emporia, where it is now a general practice to install a pneumatic cash system, and in addition to receiving cash in the cash office, a method of sales analysis is conducted."
US Congress. Committee on Education and Labor. Investigation of communism in New York distributive trades (1948) p.205 "Tube-room cashiers will be furnished with two smocks per year without cost to be laundered and maintained by them. It is specifically agreed that the furnishing of wearing apparel of any sort is limited to the tube-room cashiers only."
US. Postmaster-General. Pneumatic-tube service for the mails. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909), p.110. "E.A.Fordyce... I was formerly
connected with the Bosteda [sic] Package and Cash Carrier Company, Chicago; then the Bosteda
Pneumatic Tube Company, the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, the American
Pneumatic Service Company, and connected at present time with the United Store
and Tube Company. I was in the employ of the Lamson Consolidated Store Service
Company for a period of six years, from 1900 to 1906. While with the Lamson
Consolidated Store Service Company I had charge of their pneumatic-tube department."
p.114. "These different interests were finally merged and consolidated with other companies and interests, including the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, into the American Pneumatic Service Company. Of this latter company I was president from its organization until 1907. As president of this company I was also president of the pneumatic mail tube companies in Boston, New York, Chicago and St. Louis... W.E.L. Dillaway"
US. Secretary of the Treasury. Annual report .. on the state of the finances for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1907. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907), p.130. "The use of the 'cash trolley' in department stores not only mars the appearance, but shortens the life of the notes and certificates. The paper currency is very much crumpled to get it into the small cash carrier; the wrinkles raise and disturb the surface, which soon wears away and weakens the tensile strength of the note; in a short time the note tears easily along the line of folding or wrinkling and portions become detached and are frequently lost."
WALSH, J. Edward Huntley Oral History Interview, 1985 (UMass Lowell Libraries), p. 14. "We took one of the buildings... It belonged to Lampson [sic] Cash Carrier. They were a big company... They moved to Rochester New York."
Washington Post, 22 Nov. 1909, p.10. "Miscellaneous for sale: cash carrier system & cash register... 1928 N st nw"
WEBBER, Kimberley and HOSKINS, Ian. What's in store? a history of retailing in Australia. (Sydney: Powerhouse, 2003) Page 63 has a small photograph of a cash-ball station. "In October 1922, The Australian Storekeepers and Trader's Journal described cash carriers and cash registers as 'most important... always obedient and always accurate". The cover has "a staged photo taken during World War II in country Victoria promoting the wealth of goods available" with a Rapid Wire system.
and WESTWOOD, Norman. Smaller retail shops. (London: Architectural Press,
1937). p.23. "The day of the little boxes running about on wires is
now past and the only choice is between the pneumatic tube with a central cashiers'
room or the ordinary cash register."
p.77. "A small office, say 8ft.X6ft., is sufficient for the cash desk for a medium-sized installation and can be worked by one cashier. In a large installation the carriers arriving at the cash desk are discharged onto running belts... The electric pump requires a space about 5ft.X2ft.6in. placed at a distance from the cashier's room... In buildings with concrete floors, the pipes are best laid direct on the concrete."
p.78 has two diagrams of despatch stations, one for pipes coming from below and one for pipes overhead.
WHITAKER, Jan. Service and style: how the American department store fashioned the middle class. (New York: St Martin's, 2006) p.89. "As early as 1880, pioneering stores such as Wanamaker's original Grand Depot store and Jordan Marsh in Boston used cash carrier systems such as ones that carried hollow balls on 'boxcars' on tracks or yanked cups and baskets along wires."
WHITLOCK, Brand. Turn of the balance. (Bobbs Merrill, 1924) p.126. "There the enormous department store of James E.Bills and Company occupied an entire building five stories high... added to the din made by the little metal money-boxes that whizzed by on overhead wires."
WILLEY, Day Allen. The pneumatic tube system of a modern department store. In: Scientific American, vol. 88, 21 Mar. 1903, p.206. A detailed account of store systems and a description of a system for carrying mail in New York and Brooklyn. Five illustrations on p. 201.
WILLIAMS, Frank. Vicar to 'Dad's Army: the Frank Williams story. (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2002). p3. "Stanley J. Lee was a drapery emporium. A large shop with counters all round, it was a fascinating place. Mother would make the purchase and, when she handed over the money, the assistant would place it, with the bill, into a wooden container that was clipped on to a wire overhead. A pull on a lever and it would go whizzing away to the cashier in the centre. Seconds later it would come whizzing back with the right change. Did it ever go wrong? Did the change ever go to the wrong place? It never seemed to. It was like magic and I could have watched it for hours."
WILLIAMS, Ned. The Co-op in Birmingham and the Black Country. (Wolverhampton: Uralia Press, 1993) Page 167 contains a "personal testimony" by Marjorie Bowman in which she remembers men coming from Stoke-on-Trent to repair the Dart Cash Carrier pneumatic system. There is a photograph of the equipment in the central cash office. Dart had installed many overhead cash carriers in co-op stores.
WINSTANLEY, Michael J. The shopkeeper's world 1830-1914. (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1983). p.66. "In larger establishments the cash railway system where money and bills were transported in enclosed capsules on overhead wires or built-in chutes to a central finance office saved time and eliminated the possibility of assistants' errors or fraud in the handling of money."
WREN, Brian A. What language shall I borrow? God-talk in worship: a male response to feminist theology. (London: SCM, 1989) p.71. "In the grocer's shop of my childhood, my greatest pleasure was watching the method of payment. The assistant took your money and put it with the bill in a metal canister, which was then sent whizzing on an overhead wire to the cashier, who unpacked the canister, spiked the bill, and sent the change whizzing back to the counter."
ZELIZER, Viviana A. Pricing the priceless child: the changing social value of children. (New York: Basic Books, 1985). p.63 "In late nineteenth-century department stores, such as Macy's and Marshall Field's, one third of the labor force was composed of cash girls or cash boys, young children busily involved in transporting money and goods between sales clerks, the wrapping desk, and the cashier. By 1905, the adoption of cash registers had usurped most children's jobs."
References A-D References E-L References M-S Cash carriers in Fiction