PNEUMATIC MAIL TUBESby@archibaldwilliams


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You put your money on the counter. The shop assistant makes out a bill; and you wonder what he will do with it next. These large stores know nothing of an open till. Yet there are no cashiers' desks visible; nor any overhead wires to whisk a carrier off to some corner where a young lady, enthroned in a box, controls all the pecuniary affairs of that department. While you are wondering the assistant has wrapped the coin in the bill and put the two into a dumb-bell-shaped carrier, which he drops into a hole. A few seconds later, flop! and the carrier has returned into a basket under another opening. There is something so mysterious about the operation that you ask questions, and it is explained to you that there are pneumatic tubes running from every counter in the building to a central pay-desk on the first or second floor; and that an engine somewhere in the basement is hard at work all day compressing air to shoot the carriers through their tubes. Certainly a great improvement on those croquet-ball receptacles which progressed with a deliberation maddening to anyone in a hurry along a wooden suspended railway! Now, imagine tubes of this sort, only of much larger diameter, in some cases, passing for miles under the streets and houses, and you will have an idea of what the Pneumatic Mail Despatch means: the cash and bill being replaced by letters, telegrams, and possibly small parcels.

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Archibald Williams

Archibald Williams was a prolific British author and journalist who lived from 1871 to 1934.

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