A café that delivers your food through pneumatic tubes

Originally published at: A café that delivers your food through pneumatic tubes | Boing Boing


I can’t always have my food delivered to me through a pneumatic tube.

But when I can, I will


Now combine it with an automat and we’ll be living the dream of 1930s futurism.


Welcome to the analog internet!



Remember to tip the person who comes to Intubate you. It makes a difference! /s


Even once it arrives at my table, it’s journey through tubes will continue!


As plumbing is my profession, I am quite familiar with the series of tubes that will whisk the “download” onward, after the series of human tubes has extracted its toll.


That is a horrendous scarcity of fries included with the burger.


In the 80s we lived in Detroit, late night fast food wasn’t easy to come by but there was an Arby’s that was open after the bars closed. Their drive thru was a chain driven elevator thingy that lifted the food over your vehicle about 10 feet from the window that didn’t open. I imagine it was for safety of the workers.

There was a coffee shop in Downtown Detroit that closed very recently, it had all the various beans on display, when you ordered coffee the system would deliver the beans through vacuum tubes to the grinder.

I house sit for a friend while they’re down south for the winter, while they’re gone I get to watch this being installed.

It’s a vacuum tube for people.

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That worries me a bit; what happens if the air pumps and/or seals fail? is it designed to gently lower the car back down, or is it a quick drop with a sudden stop?

There was a bar in Berlin that used a tube system to send messages to other tables

Another club tried it in the Sixties, but I have no idea what happened to it. I’ve got one of the carriers.


I get to watch the install so I’m gonna ask questions, their website says in a power failure it slowly goes to ground level but this particular house has a ginormous backup generator so power is never a problem and they claim all elevator safety certification so I’m assuming safe.

I’ll get to test it out, hopefully it doesn’t become an Augustus Gloop situation.


homer simpson falling GIF


My dad spent his entire career in the pneumatic tube industry, and I’ve got one of the New York City postal office carriers he referred to, in addition to some 2 1/4" brass carriers used in JC Penney’s, and all sorts of other odd ball systems. What most people see are 4" systems, as that is the most common size of carrier for banks and hospitals.

The system in the video is a 100mm system (if it’s from Germany), and really poorly hung tube, too. As NZ is an earthquake zone they need sway bracing.


In the Bad Ass Cafe in Dublin’s Temple Bar, they used to (maybe still do) have a fascinating system of overhead rails powered by slingshot, that would carry your order (not sadly, your food) from your table to the kitchen.

Your server would write your order in the normal way, then roll it up and put it in a tube, and by means of pulling down on a toggle, catapult it along the rail where it might change direction at various terminals before making it’s way to the kitchen. It made a lot of distinctive whizzing and click clack noises.

The kitchen staff would unload the order, pull the toggle and send the contraption click clack whizzing back.

It always struck me as a wonderful piece of presumably obsolete technology from a world before I was born. As a young person I filed it away under things I’d find out about later, but I never did see anything like it anywhere else. Somewhere in that same file is a suspicion that it may have come from the newspaper printing industry, but I dunno why.

This BTW, is my mental picture of how the internet works.


Am I the only person I the world who had this on VHS?

ETA - Wiki is wrong, no tentacled creatures in movie! Just tubes!

ETA - Ok there was a horrible mutant dog-like creature the kids kept as a pet and had to remove disgusting parasites from, but I don’t remember it having tentacles or them eating it


It is how it works, or so we were told a few years ago.

I just the other day got… an Internet [email] was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. […] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.


“not very many” - just in almost every hospital and drive-through bank kiosk, sending samples to the lab, drugs from the pharmacy to the nursing stations, and papers to the tellers and money back to drivers.