Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pneumatic Post

According to Wikipedia, "Pneumatic post or pneumatic mail is a system to deliver letters through pressurized air tubes. It was invented by the Scottish engineer William Murdoch in the 1800s and was later developed by the London Pneumatic Dispatch Company. Pneumatic post systems were used in several large cities starting in the second half of the 19th century (including an 1866 London system powerful and large enough to transport humans during trial runs - though not intended for the purpose) but were largely abandoned during the 20th century.

"It was also speculated that a system of tubes might deliver mail to every home in the US. A major network of tubes in Paris was in use until 1984, when it was finally abandoned in favor of computers and fax machines. In Prague, in the Czech Republic, a network of tubes extending approximately 60 kilometres in length still exists for delivering mail and parcels. Following the 2002 European floods, the Prague system sustained damage, and operation was mothballed indefinitely.

"Pneumatic post stations usually connected post offices, stock exchanges, banks and ministries. Italy was the only country to issue postage stamps (between 1913 and 1966) specifically for pneumatic post. Austria, France, and Germany issued postal stationery for pneumatic use."

Shown above, pneumatic tube letter from Berlin, Germany, 1904.

For more on pneumatic networks, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM