Pneumatic tube

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Ganzsache_Rohrpostbrief_Deutsches_Reich_RU5.jpg
Pneumatic tube letter from Berlin, Germany, 1902

Pneumatic tubes are systems of air-driven containers in a network of tubes used for transporting physical objects.

Pneumatics can be traced back to Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD. The Victorian Internet used capsule pipelines to transmit telegraph messages, or telegrams, to nearby buildings from telegraph stations.

While they are commonly used for small parcels and documents, they were originally proposed in the early 1800s for transport of heavy freight. It was once envisioned that massive networks of these tubes might be used to transport people; Alfred Beach's first New York subway system used this principle. However, it was only 300 feet (100 m) long.

image:beachsub.jpg image:beachsub2.jpg

It was also speculated that a system of tubes might deliver mail to every home in the US. A major system in Paris was in use until 1983 when it was finally abandoned in favor of computers and fax machines. Today, in Prague, the Czech Republic, pneumatic tubes are still in operation. This potrubn post service covers approximately 60 kilometeres delivering mail and small parcels.

Typical current applications are banks and hospitals. Many large retailers (such as Home Depot or the Price Club in the US) use pneumatic tubes to transport checks or other documents from cashiers to the accounting office. One system lists a speed of 10 m/s ( http://www.capsu.org/history/telegram_conveyors.html ).

Pneumatic tubes were featured in Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, which envisions the world of 2000 as filled with tubes, in the movie Brazil; in the James Bond film The Living Daylights, used to smuggle a supposed Soviet defector across the Iron Curtain in an oil pipe-line; and in the 1999 television series Fantasy Island.

Links to Pneumatic Tube websites

de:Rohrpost fi:Putkiposti ru:Пневматическая почта

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