Helen Sarros operates the new pneumatic tube cash collecting system at Marshall Fields, 1947.

Helen Sarros operates the new pneumatic tube cash collecting system at Marshall Fields, 1947.

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The New York City Pneumatic Mail System delivered mail through 27 miles of pressurized tubes from 1898 to 1918.

The New York City Pneumatic Mail System delivered mail through 27 miles of pressurized tubes from 1898 to 1918.

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Pneumatic tubes, like those used by Winston, were actually used in the late 19th and early 20th century

Pneumatic tubes, like those used by Winston, were actually used in the late 19th and early 20th century

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A History of Pneumatic Tube Transportation, The Basic Technology Behind the Hyperloop

A History of Pneumatic Tube Transportation, The Basic Technology Behind the Hyperloop

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A fascinating, if arguably overlong, look at one of the Internet’s precursors — London’s 19th-century system of pneumatic tubes. It was a quicker way to transmit telegrams within the city, and eventually included 85 miles of tubes, pushing cylinders with messages using compressed air. There is talk of using them today, since the system is more secure than a digital network. —Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor

A fascinating, if arguably overlong, look at one of the Internet’s precursors — London’s 19th-century system of pneumatic tubes. It was a quicker way to transmit telegrams within the city, and eventually included 85 miles of tubes, pushing cylinders with messages using compressed air. There is talk of using them today, since the system is more secure than a digital network. —Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor

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Imagine spending your workday here. Hopefully the incoming capsules weren't fast or heavy!

Imagine spending your workday here. Hopefully the incoming capsules weren't fast or heavy!

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