1916 ad chides Congress for not investing in pneumatic tubes for first class mail delivery


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/21/1916-ad-chides-congress-for-no.html


Just for mail? C’mon, think BIG!


It got closer to fruition than most people realize…

Even though it’s pointless and redundant now, I hope this is the sort of vanity project our superciv decedents (assuming we make it through the Great Filter of course), build just for fun.


Hmm, something’s missing…


fun fact: Berlin had a large pneumatic tubes system - important enough that the Soviets thought it would be worthwhile to interrupt the connections as bargaining chip during the Berlin Blockade


Hooray minimal context for a clip of Brazil!


How many other movies feature pneumatic tubes?


Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!


The Shadow, and The Hudsucker Proxy come immediately to mind.


Many building which had mail drops and intra-building pneumatic tube systems later repurposed these for running fiber optics, as the strict bend radius limitations made them perfect conduits for clad glass fiber.


In the 1994 adaptation of The Shadow the titular character maintains a secret communications network with his informants via a series of pneumatic tubes. Which is pretty stupid if you think about it, because it would be pretty trivial to find his secret super hero lair just by following where the tubes go.


Well yea, assuming you’re tiny enough to fit in the tube!


So why did pneumatic tubes go away?

Was it because of the labor cost of all the people blowing air into the tubes?


As Donny explained above, they work on vacuum


The pneumatic tube lobby was really strong in 1916 but eventually lost due to kickbacks from the truck and wheel barrel lobby.


It’s a good mode of transportation, if you don’t mind being crushed to death in a pressurized tube.


HTG, I expected this to be about tires on letter carrier bicycles.


If I was a supervillain I’d just find one of the Shadow’s tubes and drop dog shit in it every day until he gave up on the whole system.


Actually quite a bit of mail is delivered with carts that are basically specialized wheelbarrows.


They’re pretty expensive to maintain from what i recall on a podcast that touched on the subject. Also if you have odd sized envelopes that can’t be folded you’d need to mail it the usual way so it seems like it’d be more straightforward to just have a guy deliver the mail, even if it is slower.