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Mason City (641)423-1600 Change Location

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2601 4th Street SW
Mason City, IA 50401

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Home Blog Banking and More with Pneumatic Tubes

Banking and More with Pneumatic Tubes

Have you ever banked at First Citizens by using the tube? The system might seem archaic, but it has stood the test of time with its speed, security, and efficiency. If you have never used it before, watch this video to learn how.


The basic technology behind the pneumatic tube system (using compressed air to transport items through the tube from one location to another) has remained essentially the same since 1893. Despite the advancements in courier transportation technology, pneumatic tubes still have their niche in today's world.

Banks aren’t the only industry to use tubes to safely transport items from point A to point B. Here are five fun facts about the usage of pneumatic tubes:

  1. The tube began by moving people. Alfred Ely Beach built a block-long pneumatic transit system in New York City. The demonstration sold 400,000 rides during its first year of operation.
  2. Pneumatic tube mail was a postal system in New York City from 1897-1953. The canisters that were used could hold 600 letters and would travel up to 35 miles an hour. The total system comprised 27 miles of tubes, connecting 23 post offices.
  3. Pneumatic tubes were used for inter-office mail. In the mid-20th century, pneumatic tubes carried mail in offices around the country, providing the speed of email in an age before the internet — or even the fax machine — existed. 
  4. NASA Mission used tubes during the Apollo era. NASA needed to move messages quickly, so they used Pneumatic tubes to connect controller consoles with staff support teams.
  5. McDonald's used pneumatic tubes to deliver food! Until it closed in 2011, a McDonald's in Edina, Minnesota claimed to be the "World's Only Pneumatic Air Drive-Thru". The drive-thru was only connected to the restaurant by a pneumatic air chamber (like a bigger version of a teller tube). Just food was delivered this way. The risk of spillage was too high for sodas and shakes. 

Banking is one of the industries with the longest-running use of this technology. Other industries that still use pneumatic tubes include manufacturing plants, foundries, hospitals, and government buildings. Just about any organization that needs to move product safely and quickly throughout a building or buildings can benefit from pneumatic tubes.


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