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Particles & Waves

Victorian-era technology still working

As promised yesterday (where I posted a photo of the controls to a manually-operated elevetor/lift), here's a photo of that same store's ancient, but still functioning perfectly), PTT system. PTT (or PTC) stands for Pneumatic Tube Transport (or Capsule) system. Messages or cheques or whatever are put into a capsule about the size of a tall beer can, put into this system of pipes/tubes in which there is an air flow (pop it into the system by lifting the cross-hatch flap sown). It goes to an office or another station, somebody handles it and, sometimes sends it back way with change for the register (where it lands in the basket or a curved bit of brass pipe). This system is at least 100 years old. The store itself is 148 years old and will not see a 149th. Sad.

Interestingly, PTT/PTC systems have been making a bit of a comeback. Monstrously large stores (e.g. Costco) and some factories are using them once again to move small paperwork and such around.



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