Saturday, March 7, 2015

London's Pneumatic Tube Messaging System

London's pneumatic tube system provided a high-tech solution to "the last mile" message transmission challenge in Victorian London and well into the 20th century. As this exquisitely fascinating article mentions, it also played a role in World War I communications.

See Get Them On the Blower.

The name of Slough, a section of London, mentioned early in the article, rhymes with plow.

Pneumatic tubes are now most commonly seen at bank drive-up windows located on lanes not adjecent to the building.

As noted in the article, the pneumatic tube carriers were made of gutta percha. History buffs may remember that Congressman Preston Brooks was a Democratic Representative from South Carolina notorious for beating Senator Charles Sumner (Free Soil-Massachusetts), an abolitionist, with a cane on the floor of the United States Senate, on May 22, 1856. The cane was actually a gutta-percha walking stick. Brooks'ss act and the polarizing national reaction to it {even worse than Ferguson today) are frequently cited as a major factor leading to the Civil War.

The Jules Verne pneumatic tube trains are a pseudo-prototype of the maglev train, , one of Elon Musk's projects Elon Musk’s 800mph Hyperloop

Re speaking tubes on ships, you may recall these were used on the famous "Yellow Submarine," which is actually referred to in this article with reference to sound attenuation.

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