The Cash Railway

‘Oh no’, you say. ‘Another post about a railway?’

And I say, ‘why not?’ After all I do bill myself as a nerd.

But actually, this is different and this will bring back memories for all sorts of people. For this was something that you found in use in shops.

As a child, I loved it if my mum took me to the Co-op household department. They had a cash railway – one of those overhead money carrying systems that had a central cashier, often in a sort of cage and a system of cables which could carry small containers to the various different counters.

The counter staff sold something, put the money and the bill in the container, pulled the lever and the little container whizzed overhead to the cashier. They stamped the bill and made sure the right change was in the container, pulled their lever and off it went back to the counter.

Times change and the old Co-op closed and the cash railway went.

But when I moved to Devizes, the department store, Sloper’s, had a cash railway. Oh what a treat, now as a sensible (ha, ha) adult, to watch those capsules race through the air to the cashier. But times changed again. Sloper’s was not profitable enough and closed. The cash railway was a thing of the past once more. But I did take some photos and here is the network of wires at the cashier desk. There are four lines, all aiming in different directions.

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I’m told that once upon a time, Sloper’s also used a pneumatic tube to get bills and cash to a separate nearby property.

Sloper’s was a treasure trove of antique items. And this was 1976.

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Look at that telephone on the desk. Magic.

I bought the typewriter.

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No shift key here – just a completely separate set of keys for capital letters.

I no longer have the typewriter. I gave it to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes because, obviously, it has real Wiltshire and Devizes history. And in the museum it joins Sloper’s cash railway. The museum has set up a part of it and so once again it can be seen in action.

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5 Responses to “The Cash Railway”

  1. Andrew Buxton Says:

    I don’t know if the picture of Slopers is yours but I’d like to use it on my Cash Railway Website if I may.

  2. Slopers | Locksands Life Says:

    […] Slopers was a department store in Devizes. We met Slopers in a post I did some time ago about its cash railway. You could click here to see that. […]

  3. Thom Hickey Says:

    Thanks. You’ve evoked some warm memories here. Regards Thom.

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