My essay on pneumatic tubes — which was conceived during my Summer 2003 library book research tour and finally came to fruition in 2009 — appears in Air, the new issue of MIT Press’s Alphabet City series, out now!
It’s a lovely little book, with contributions from Robert Kirkbride, Melissa Grey and Cynthia Lin, Bhawani Venkataraman, Steven Connor, Mei Chin, Javier Arbona, and others. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
From the Post Office Department records, National Archives and Records Administration:
At NARA II in College Park:
From the Western Union collection at the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History:
For Mom & Dad:
“Every time an incision is made in the pavement, those noisy surgeons expose ganglia that are tangled beyond belief.” -E.B. White, “Here is New York,” 1949.
“Outside, alone on a delivery run, the uniformed messenger served as both visual advertising and as the direct customer contact for the telegraph company. Boys were to appear neat, speedy, polite, and responsible, with ‘Clean Hands and Face,’ ‘Uniform Pressed and Spotless,’ and ‘Cap Squarely on Head’…” -Gregory J. Downey, Telegraph Messenger Boys: Labor, Technology, and Geography, 1850-1950 (New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 68.