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Remember these cash/receipt tubes in stores?

Warbaby

One Too Many
Messages
1,549
Location
The Wilds of Vancouver Island
I remember those from my childhood in 40's, going shopping with my mother at the big Kaufman's department store in Pittsburgh. When you paid for your purchases (always cash - no credit cards yet), the clerk would put your money and the sales slip in a transparent cylinder with thick felt padding on the ends and pop it into a tube that carried it to some mysterious place where they made change. A couple of minutes later the cylinder would return with your change and sales receipt via another parallel tube. I was endlessly fascinated with them and thought they were one of the neatest things in the world. I used to fantacize about what it would be like if they had pneumatic tubes big enough for people to ride in and wondered why no one had invented such a thing.
 

Brian Sheridan

One Too Many
Messages
1,456
Location
Erie, PA
The clothing store my father took me to as a child had such a system, as late as the mid-70's. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
 

J.J. Gittes

A-List Customer
Messages
375
Location
Chinatown
I've seen those in multi level pharmacies or drive though ones. Always super cool. Always heard the thuuuumppp of the tube!
 

MrNewportCustom

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,265
Location
Outer Los Angeles
I remember drive-up banking through tubes as recently as the '80s, and there's a bank I pass on my way to work that still uses them. That's right; people and pneumatic tubes, not electronic machines, processing your deposit.


Lee
 

MPicciotto

Practically Family
Messages
771
Location
Eastern Shore, MD
The local branch of my local bank still uses them (actually the building is only a few years old, so it's a new system). Well not to often, as the outer drive-thru lane is typically closed so you get to deal with the person practically face to face.

Matt
 

Flivver

Practically Family
Messages
821
Location
New England
Warbaby said:
I used to fantacize about what it would be like if they had pneumatic tubes big enough for people to ride in and wondered why no one had invented such a thing.

There actually *was* an operable pneumatic tube subway in NYC!

The Beach Pneumatic Transit opened to the public in 1870. It was designed by Alfred Eli Beach who was editor of the "Scientific American". Beach's system operated as a demonstration for three years. It had only one station and one car that ran one block from Warren Street to Murray Street, downtown.

It was built in secrecy in only 58 days because Beach was unable to obtain a permit from Tammany Hall.

You can read more about it here:

http://www.nycsubway.org/articles/beach.html

I've had a collection of 19th century Scientific American" magazines for many years and remembered reading about this invention. Needless to say, Beach used his magazine to promote his invention!

And, yes I do remember those pneumatic tubes in department stores when I was a kid in the 1950s. I, too, was fascinated with them.
 

THe Conductor

One of the Regulars
Messages
173
Location
Fortress San Francisco
Portland Union Station in Portland, OR used to have a system that would deliver Train Orders (The little piece of paper that allowed a train to be on the track) from the telegraph/operator's office to the train crews on the platform. This was in the day when five railroads ran passenger trains out of the depot 1940s/50s.
 

Rachael

A-List Customer
Messages
465
Location
Stumptown West
The Penney's store downtown had the tubes up until they moved to the mall in the late '70s. I remember being fascinated by them as a child, and my kids would always ask me to use the outer lane at the bank so they could watch the tube work. My bank still uses them, so yes real human contact in banking is alive and well. The mister has banked at the same place so long he's on a first name basis with everyone at his branch.
 

dhermann1

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,154
Location
Da Bronx, NY, USA
The "Bootleg" Subway

My recollection of that story was that the trains were pulled by steam locos, and that there is still a steam loco sitting under the ground where it was left after the line closed. It's a fascinating chapter in New York history.
There were pneumatic trains in London, however.
 

Old School QD

New in Town
Messages
19
Location
Ottawa, Canada
I noticed that the local Zellers department store in the mall near my home still has a pneumatic tube system. They're the coolest things. Don't know if it's still in use though.
 

TraditionalFrog

One of the Regulars
Messages
129
Location
Indianapolis, Ind.
There is a local owned shoe store here in Indianapolis called Stouts. Stouts still has the hanging baskets although they aren't used all that often these days. When I was younger I was taken to Stouts a few times a year for new shoes. Back then after being fitted the shoes would be boxed then placed in the basket... then lifted up and whizzed across the store to an upstairs room. A short time later they would return with the box wrapped in brown paper. Between that and the stores resident parrot Ripley it made for a fun day out on the town. I don't remember if payment was also taken care of via the basket as well, but I do recall tokens of some sort bring used. I still get my shoes at Stouts to this day.
 

Noirblack

One of the Regulars
Messages
199
Location
Toronto
It's funny how years ago these kinds of cash systems were seen as progress but now they seem quaint. Probably at some point bank cards and credit cards will be seen as obsolete as we go through checkouts and our retinas linked to our bank accounts are scanned. Maybe in a generation or two we won't even remember what cash is.
 

DNO

One Too Many
Messages
1,815
Location
Toronto, Canada
Used to use them when I worked in the proof room at the Globe and Mail in the early '70's. We'd send the corrected proofs through them.

Costco still uses a pneumatic system up here to allow cashiers to divest themselves of their excess cash.
 

Espee

Practically Family
Messages
548
Location
southern California
I remember them from the Sears office where my father worked. (I was reminded of that office the other day when I used a water dispenser equipped with pointy-bottomed paper cups... I know those aren't exactly rare, but I hadn't seen any in a long time.)
 

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