Comments on Dead Media Working Note 47.7
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Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 15:56:24 EDT

Our information states that the pneumatic tube systems started in Lowell, MA in a department store owned by a Mr. Lamson. Furthermore, the systems are utilized in France for mail distribution directly from remote boxes to a central P.O. mail room. NYC had a very large system that went from the Church Street P.O. to Long Island. The time distance was under 2 hours for delivery and when it was converted to truck distribution the mail now takes over 2 days. It is interesting today, since the pneumatic tubes are used primarily in Hospitals for the distribution of Blood, Specimens and Pharmacy products.




Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 19:56:19 +0100

Greetings,

Thank you for your comments. Although not directed specifically at me, I trust you will allow me to reply.

> Our information states that the pneumatic tube systems started in Lowell,

MA in a department store owned by a Mr. Lamson.

I presume you refer to application of pneumatic tubes to the retail sector, not *all* such systems (for example, telegram systems). My knowledge of retail systems is poor. Do you have any sources, dates, etc? Is is why reference is sometimes made to _Lamson Tubes_ - I had assumed this referred to the English manufacturer of the same name?

> Furthermore, the systems are

utilized in France for mail distribution directly from remote boxes to a > central P.O. mail room.

I am aware of proposals for this using larger diameter capsule pipelines (for example, Alfred Beach proposed such a system in the US [1]), while the French _pneu_ in Paris did provide for office to office mailings, although that shut in 1983 [2]; but not this. Do you have any further detail?

> NYC had a very large system that went from the Church

Street P.O. to Long Island. The time distance was under 2 hours for > delivery and when it was converted to truck distribution the mail now > days takes over 2.

That's progress for you. The conversion was on the based primarily on cost [3], although I'd wager that there was an element of politics in there.

> It is interesting today, since the pneumatic tubes are used primarily in

Hospitals for the distribution of Blood, Specimens and Pharmacy products.

This is one of a number of niche markets such systems can be found in. Current _media_ applications are somewhat more limited. Document transfer applications do exist, for example, moving documents within an office building, or issuing written instructions to lorry drivers as they leave a quarry [4].

[1] Beach, A., (1868), The Pneumatic Dispatch, American News Co., Nassau St, New York. [2] Hayhurst, J. D., (1974), The Pneumatic Post of Paris, The France & Colonies Philatelic Society of Great Britain, http://www.ftech.net/~winlink/jdhayhurst/ . [3] Schaer, S., (undated), Mail System Down the Tube, Newsday, http://future.newsday.com/1/fbak0115.htm . [4] Lamson, D., D., (undated), promotional material, Gosport, Hampshire, UK.

Tim Howgego

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