Photo credit: The Atlantic
When we think of mail services, most people imagine their carriers walking between houses to drop off letters. In New York, a more impressive system was developed in the 1890s. A series of tubes allowed mail to be shot across the city using pneumatic pressure.
The first items sent were various papers and a copy of the Bible. But the operators were not content with these pedestrian items. The next canister sent through the tubes contained a live tortoiseshell cat. A postal worker recorded the event:
How it could live after being shot at terrific speed from Station P in the Produce Exchange Building, making several turns before reaching Broadway and Park Row, I cannot conceive, but it did. It seemed to be dazed for a minute or two but started to run and was quickly secured and placed in a basket that had been provided for that purpose.
When other branches to the pneumatic system were opened, a canister holding a goldfish bowl and live fish was sent through. Apparently, the fish arrived unshaken by their travels.
I can only imagine the nightmare that would occur if a system such as this were in place in this day and age.Scary, isn't it?
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is coming in later.