Sunday, May 23, 2010

pneumatic tubes in literature 1

"My father's first job, when he was fifteen, said Avery, was at Lamson Pneumatic Tubes. Ever since I can remember, we shared an affection for pneumatic tubes: ingenious, practical, inexplicaly humorous. We loved the idea of an elegant, handwritten note, perhaps a love letter, stuffed into a cylinder and then shot through a tube of compressed air at thirty-five miles an hour or sucked up by a vacuum at the other end like liquid through a straw. My father believed this was the most unjustly neglected technology of the century, and we were continually thinking up new uses for pneumatic tube systems ... He drew maps of London criss-crossed with hundreds of miles of underground pneumatics - little trains of capsule-cars for public transportation; groceries delivered direct from shops to private residences, swooshed right into the kitchen icebox; flowers shot directly from the florist into the vase on one's piano; delivery of medicines to hospitals and convalescent homes; pneumatic school buses, pneumatic amuseument rides, pneumatically operated brass brands..."
From The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels, p18 - 19
(thanks to Annie for this quote)

Whilst medicines certainly whoosh around hospitals, flowers are yet to appear on pianos ... It makes me wonder about other possible uses for pneumatic tube systems.

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