Home Manufacturers Cash Balls Wire systems Pneumatic systems Locations References Patents


The principal manufacturer is the Lamson company, known by various names over the years since 1882. The first factory was in Lowell, Massachusetts with an office in Boston. An agent was appointed in London in 1885 and the Brtish company was registered in 1888. This had rights to the "Eastern hemisphere" (including Britain to the west of Greenwich!) and branches were set up in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Many other companies competed with Lamson and those I have heard of are listed below: some have their own pages. Lamsons took over most of the successful ones, sometimes using the original trading name.

ACME CASH RAILWAY COMPANY, New Haven, Conn . "The Acme Cash Railway is built by the E.A.Burgess estate, 67-69 Court Street, New Haven, Conn., and is so effective and withal so cheap that it is a serious question if any live shopkeeper can afford to be without it." Two known locations are T.&J.Dasey of Little Falls, NY and the Siegel-Cooper store in New York. (See Locations.) There was an advertisement in Home Furnishing Review, vol. 13, ?1898, p. 81: "Single Wheel Acme Cash Railway. Only $14 per station and satisfaction guaranteed. Send for illustrated catalogue covering our full line. Inventors' models made to order. L.A.Holmes, manager. "


AIR-LINE CARRIER COMPANY, 200 Monroe Street, Chicago. "Among the systems which have been found especially serviceable for marketmen is that of the Air Line Carrier Company." Butchers' Advocate, vol. 37, 1904, p.19. Taken over by Lamsons at least by 1910 but the name was still used for their wire systems.
• Oakes Ames, President of the Lamson Store Service Company, was also President of the Air-Line Carrier Company at the time of his death in 1914.

AIRMATIC SYSTEMS COMPANY, Rochelle Park, NJ. Makers of pneumatic tube cash systems. One location is Weavers in Lawrence, Kansas.

ALGIE COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


AMERICAN CASH RAILWAY COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


AMERICAN PNEUMATIC SERVICE COMPANY. "The Lamson Company became connected with the American Pneumatic Service Company" and Oakes Ames who was President of Lamson became Vice-President of the latter until his death in 1914. (Biographical History of Massachusetts). See also publications


AUSTRALIAN CASH RAILWAY COMPANY. The photograph shows a wire car with their transfer on the cup which was sold on eBay. It was said to have come from a store near Wagga Wagga. The design of the car is very similar to Lamson's Rapid Wire.

The Official Year Book of New South Wales, 1887, mentions the manufacture of cash railway systems "within the metropolis". This seems earlier than Lamson's presence, so might it be the Australian Cash Railway Company?

In 1930, J.B.Wallis Ltd. (in liquidation) brought an action against James Maher, Henry Herbert Walters and Betty Glyn, trading as the Australian Cash Railway Company, to recover £315/4/5 as the value of turbos supplied for a pneumatic railway system which was installed in the 'Sun' building. Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Nov. 1930, p.11

There is an entry in the Classified Section of the Australian Capital Territory Telephone Directory (including Section 4 of New South Wales Telephine Directory) of January 1952 under "Cash Carriers": Australian Cash Railway Co. Pty. Ltd. Manufacturers of PNEUMATIC & RAPID Wire Systems, Installation and Maintenance, 84 Wentworth Av., Sydney." This is followed by an entry for Lamson Engineering Co. Ltd. at 9 Queen Street, Chippendale. So they appear to have operated alongside Lamson until at least 1952.

Wooden cup with Australian Cash Railway Company transfer

AUTOMATIC DELIVERY COMPANY, New York. Manufacturers of an early pneumatic tube system described in Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 Oct. 1887, p.30. The "automatic receiver" is shown opposite.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4

AUTOMATIC STORE SERVICE COMPANY, Boston. "The Automatic cash and parcel carrier is indorsed by every merchant and mechanic who has seen it to be the BEST invention of its class, the cheapest in construction, and certain to supersede all other systems. The Automatic Store Service Company, the parent company, offers a limited amount of its capital stock for sale AT PAR, ensuring to the purchasers certain and large dividends. Capital $500,000. Shares $50 each.
Sub-companies are now being arranged in many parts of the country... The factory of the company is located at 164 High street, Boston... For information, call or address The Automatic Store Service Company, Room 19, 50 State Street."

A patent was awarded in 1890 to Frank S. Church of Detroit, Mich. , assignor to Automatic Store Service Company, Portland, Me. for a cash and parcel carrier.

The illustration is from an envelope postmarked Boston Mass., 1890.





BILT-RITE MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Minneapolis, Minn. I know very little about this company except for these photographs I was sent of a car. It seems to run on a single wire and the pegs below the wheels presumably engage with the propulsion.

BOSTEDO PACKAGE & CASH CARRIER COMPANY, Room 47 Marine Building, 154 Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1881, Louis Gardner Bostedo joined his father's retail dry goods and carpets business (A.L.Bostedo) in Atlantic, Iowa. He started the cash carrier company in 1884. In 1888, Horatio Thomas of Chicago and Louis Bostedo took out a patent assigned to the company. The patents were later sold to Lamson. (Iowa Journal of History)

The description of the system at J.T. Sheward, Los Angeles, installed in 1889 mentions four stationary tracks with thirty-four stations and baskets dropping into the proper stations. This sounds somewhat like a cash ball or cable system and not a wire system.
Mentioned in "The Railway Purchasing Agent's Directory" (Railway Equipment & Finance Co.,1900) p.14 as a supplier of mail bags.
The date of the advertisement opposite is not known. Bostedo made both wire and pneumatic tube systems and evidently had a New York office too. The firm later became the Bostedo Pneumatic Tube Company, which was involved in a patent dispute with Stoetzel in the early years of the 20th century. There is a statement by someone connected with the firm in US Congressional Serial Set.

Bostedo was active in Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Apr. 1899 p.8 records the case of W.A.Lingham v. The Bostedo Package and Cash Carrier Company Ltd. in the Small Debts Court, Water Police Office. The first Bostedo pneumatic system in New Zealand was at the Direct Supply Company. Auckland Star, 18 Nov. 1899, p.1

The Bostedo Pneumatic Tube Company took out a suit against the Harris-Emery store in Des Moines, Ia. in 1900, alleging infringement of their patent - see Court cases.

The company appointed Urbine Curtis Phillips as their London agent and a clerk from Lamsons, Mr Fenwick, left to join Phillips, taking copies of all their leases for systems. Mr Kelly of Lamsons went to Chicago and arranged for Louis Bostedo to visit England. An agreement was signed for in May 1908 for Lamson to acquire the overseas business of Bostedo with rights of manufacture in the UK. (F.Wagstaff)



CASTLE CHECK-BOOK COMPANY. There was an advertisement in the Leeds Mercury, 18 Jan. 1895: "First-class men wanted, to take orders for 'The Castle Cash Carrier'. Apply at once to 'The Castle Check Book Co.", 24 Castle-street, Finsbury, London, E.C.

The advertisement opposite was in the Drapers Record of 16 March 1895, p.687. The illustration shows a two-wire system similar to Gipe's.

One location known to have this system was the Stuff Warehouse, York.

Advertisement for "Castle" Cash Carrier

CHAPMAN. "We have put in six stations of Chapman's Cash Railway System". A.E.Bishop & Co., Abeline


CONSOLIDATED STORE FIXTURE/SERVICE COMPANY. See Court cases. It seems to have existed around 1890-98.

CONTINENTAL CASH CAR COMPANY. "The Continental Cash Car Company has been incorporated for the manufacture, sale , &c., of machines and apparatus for conveying: money and packages." The Sun, 19 July 1883.
• "The old [Lamson Cash Railway] company has bought the Continental Cash Car company of Baltimore and the New York Store Service company... The former company's system is in operation in about eighty stores and the latter in twenty-one stores. Lowell Weekly Sun, 19 Dec. 1885, p.8
See also Court Cases


DENNIS CASH CARRIER COMPANY. Incorporated in Bangor, Maine, on 29 August 1882. The president in July 1883 was S.B.L(?)uffer. George B. Coram and John C. Coram took out patents in 1883. There were prolonged arguments in 1884 with Lamsons about ownership of the patents for the ball and switch with threats to prosecute users of the Lamson system. In June of that year it was consolidated into the Flagg company (see below).

FLAGG CASH CARRIER COMPANY. "A new company, bidding for the cash carrying business, has come into the field this week, styled 'Flagg Cash Carrier company.' It is a consolidation of the Flagg Automatic and the 'Dennis Cash Carrier Company' of Lowell." Boston Post, 28 Jun. 1884
Joseph Walter Flagg of Worcester, Mass. assigned a patent to the company in Portland, Maine in 1884.
Mentioned in the Boston Directory (Sampson, Murdock) for 1885, at 28 Equitable Building.

FULLER CASH CARRIER COMPANY, Meadville Pa. The illustration is from an envelope franked 30 December 1893. The carrier runs on a single wire propelled somehow by a cord with two handles (one for each direction?). The cup is permanently attached to the carriage and hinges down for inserting or removing money. The same illustration appeared in Scientific American (15 March 1890), p. 165.

"This car runs on a horizontal wire, between salesman and cashier. The cup to hold money is part of the car." Boston Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. Exhibition (date unknown)

Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4

Fuller Cash Carrier drawing

GILMAN CASH RAILWAY COMPANY. "To the Gilman Cash Railway Company belongs the credit of solving the problem of using any number of stations, from one to twenty, on a single wire or rail." Boston Daily Globe 31/1/1886. It was exhibited at 173 Devonshire street, Boston.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4




GROVER COMPANY. About the same time that Lamsons started to sell pneumatic tube systems, William and Clarence Grover founded a company in Woodburn, Michigan with activities including "the manufacture, sale and distribution of Pneumatic Tubes; Cash and Parcel Carriers; Store, Office and Factory Fixtures". It was later purchased by the Powers Regulator Company of Skokie, Illinois. (Dead Media Working Notes 36.5). The present descendent is Swisslog who manufacture TransLogic pneumatic tubes, mainly for hospitals.

The pneumatic tube system in Penney's, Brownsville, Texas was installed by Frank E.Ware, Texas representative of the Grover Company.


HAZARD STORE SERVICE CO., Toronto. US Patent No. 1,197,623 of 1916 was awarded to Frederick J.H.Hazard of Toronto for improvements to a two-wire system. The Lethbridge [Alberta] News of 15 Feb. 1900 records that the Co-op purchased a system from the Hazard Store Service Co.

HENDERSON STORE RAILWAY LTD. I know of this only from the following advertisement: "The Henderson Store Railway Limited. - Representative for Ireland wanted to obtain orders for cash railways. Apply, by letter, to the office of the company, 163 West George Street, Glasgow." Belfast News-Letter, 15 June 1893


HOLBROOK MANUFACTURING COMPANY of Chicago. Installed a system at Chasaka's dry goods store, Fort Wayne, In. in 1882. Became part of the Lamson Cash Railway company in 1883. Lowell Daily Courier, 23 Feb. 1883, p.8


KELLY. The only thing I know about them is this car, which looks like the Air-Line design, offered on eBay from an American address.

LOVEJOY STORE SERVICE COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


McCORMICK CASH CARRIER COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


MARTIN & HILL CASH CARRIER COMPANY, Florence Mass. Joseph C. Martin took out a patent in 1882 for "automatically-moving cash boxes" - see Patents
• Claimed to be the original inventors of cash railways carriers and won a lawsuit against a "certain company" (Lamson?) who threatened to sue "each and every company" who used their system. Boston Evening Transcript, 3 June, 1887
• Mentioned in the Boston Directory for 1885 at 161 Devonshire.
• In October 1887, H. Batterman in Brooklyn had "Martin & Hill's electric cable cash railway" installed "at an enormous expense". Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 30 Oct. 1887, p.12
• "Joseph C. Martin of this city sold certain patents on the automatic cash box system to the Martin & Hill Cash Carrier company some years ago. Now the Martin & Hill company have brought suit to suppress the defendant from further patents on the machine." Lowell Daily Sun, 2 Jun. 1894, p.21
• Martin died in Florence in March 1899.
• Oakes Ames, President of the Lamson Store Service Company was also President of the Martin Cash Carrier Company at the time of his death in 1914.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


MERCHANTS' STORE RAILWAY COMPANY of New York. Involved in patent infringement case, 1887.
• "He next became manager of the Merchants' Store Railway Company, which was continued up to the time when it was sold out to the Lamson Store Railway Company." James J.Mitchell. Detroit in history and commerce (Rogers & Thorpe, 1891) p.119
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


METEOR DESPATCH COMPANY. David Law Proudfit was (first?) president in 1888 and the company was based in New York (Virtual American Biographies).
• Martin Barri assigned a patent for improvements in pneumatic cash carriers to the Meteor Despatch Company of Portland, Maine in 1888.
• "Pneumatic tube apparatus for the safe, rapid and certain carriage of cash, papers or messages." Offices in Boston, New York and Chicago. (Advertisement of 1892).
"This is manifestly an improvement in these necessary appliances for the rapid transaction of business, and a meritorious invention. Bronze medal". (Boston Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. Exhibition, date unknown)
• A Lamson sales document of around 1930 shows tubes labeled Meteor Despatch Co. Boston, Mass. so they were presumably one of the many companies taken over by Lamson.
• [At least one example in UK!] "Meteor Cash Carrier; two stations; cost £30, good condition; open to offer. - R.Grant, Torquay. " Daily Mirror, 12 Aug. 1915, p.11
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


NEW YORK STORE SERVICE CO. Bought by the Lamson Cash Railway company in 1885. See CONTINENTAL CASH CAR Co. above.


PETERSON MANUFACTURING CO. Advertisement in Janesville [Wis.] Daily Gazette, 31 Oct. 1921, p.5: "Cash carrier systems. Soft water service pumps. Phone Blue421, Evenings."

RAPID SERVICE STORE RAILWAY COMPANY of Detroit. Acquired by Lamson in 1887. Installed a system at the Drapery Importing Company, Christchurch, New Zealand in 1889.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4

SKINNER CASH TRANSMITTER COMPANY. According to the Skinner Family Association website, David Skinner (1825-98) patented a parcel transmitter in 1883. It consisted of a metal basket which was propelled up a track to the ceiling by pulling a cord. There a spring propelled it along a cable to the cashier's office. Skinner sold his interest to Lamsons in 1887.
• Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


STANDARD STORE SERVICE COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4. This may derive from Gipe's "Standard" carrier which Lamson acquired.


STARR CASH AND PACKAGE CAR COMPANY. The top illustration, is from the Australian Town and Country Journal, 8 Oct. 1887, p. 30. "Fig. 1 represents Starr's IMPROVED CASH CARRIER, which is simple in construction, practical in operation, and requires no extra motion to disconnect it from the stop blocks; while, the car, owing to suitable buffers, can receive no injury from coming in contact with the stop blocks. To the upper surface of the car are secured uprights, in whioh are journaled the axles of grooved wheels running upon the overhead wire or track. In other uprights is held a rod on which are placed two coiled springs so arranged that the rod acts as a double buffer to the carrier; each of its ends being adapted to strike a stop block, two of which are attached to the wire, one at each end. Near each end of the bar is a pawl, acted upon by a spring which lifts its free end so that it will automatically engage with a lip formed on the stop block for holding the car stationary when it reaches either end of its trip. The pawls are disconnected and the car started by means of levers pivoted to the frame and connected with the pawls. When either of the levers is grasped for shoving the car along upon the wire a slight downward pressure upon it will free the pawl from the lip, thus freeing the car, which, by a slight forward movement of the hand, may be caused to travel the wire to its opposite destination. The money is carried in a cup attached by bayonet connections to a rim secured to the under surface of the frame. This invention was recently patented by Mr.Joseph Starr, of New London, Conn., U.S.A."

The lower illustration is from Scientific American, 16 April 1892, p.243: "a new device for the conveyance of cash .. recently patented by Mr Joseph Starr, of New London, Ct. In the design of this machine, all superfluous attachments have been omitted, and it is reduced to the practical and useful... The car is propelled along the wire by the use of a steel bow spring, which, as will be readily understood, is superior to rubber bands and cord combinations." However, this superiority did not seem to result in its success over its Lamson rivals.




TRANSIT APPARATUS COMPANY. Listed as owned by Lamson but not in active business. Listing statements of the New York Stock Exchange, vol. 8, 1906, p.4


UNITED STATES STORE SERVICE COMPANY. "The United States Store Service Company agrees to convey unto the Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, by proper assignment, all its patents and inventions which stand in its name." Supreme Court, 1888, p.20


UNIVERSAL PNEUMATIC CASH SYSTEMS. Known only from this photograph taken from an American magazine of 1915.

WHITING'S Cash railway system. Installed in Hudson's Bay store, Calgary. No more known about this manufacturer.