Lamson Engineering Company Ltd

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Lamson Engineering Company Ltd
IndustryPneumatic tubes
SuccessorDialed Despatches
HeadquartersWillesden Junction and Stoke on Trent
ProductsCash delivery systems
Cash ball system at the Up-To-Date Store in Coolamon, Australia

The Lamson Engineering Company Ltd was the best known British manufacturer of Cash Ball, Rapid Wire and pneumatic tube delivery systems from 1937 to 1976.


William Stickney Lamson opened a shop in Merrimack Street, Lowell, Massachusetts, in February 1879. He experimented in saving the assistants walking between the counter and the cash office with a system of hollow balls on tracks. The Cash Ball system was born. He filed a patent on 14 February 1881. In January, 1882, the Lamson Cash Carrier Company was incorporated.

In 1884, John Magrath Kelly,[1] an Irish-American from Boston, became an agent for the Lamson Cash Ball system in London, and the British Company was founded. By 1888, the Lamson Store Service Company Ltd was established at 1 Charlotte Street, Bedford Square, London, WC. With capital of £85,000 (£9,538,241 as of 2019)[2] the company had rights to the ball system for Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, with UK patent 18566.

In 1889, the company was renamed the Lamson Paragon Supply Company through an amalgamation of the Paragon Check Book Co with the Lamson Store Service Company. Shortly afterwards, they started selling the Rapid Wire systems in Britain.

In 1897, the Bostedo Package and Cash Carrier Company launched its products in Britain. It was bought out two years later when Lamson renamed it the Lamson Pneumatic Tube Company.

Subsidiary companies were established in Australia in 1901 and New Zealand in 1905. In 1911, all manufacturing was consolidated at a single factory in Hythe Road, Willesden Junction, northwest London.

On 20 January 1937, the Lamson Engineering Company Ltd was incorporated as a merger of the Lamson Store Service Co Ltd and Lamson Pneumatic Tube Co Ltd.

In 1973, the firm was promoting its "Rallypost" system with PVC track and battery-operated carriers that could carry up to 6 kg.[3] This was designed as an office document carrier.

The company relocated to Stoke on Trent in 1974.

Lamson Engineering Company Ltd survived until 1976 when it was taken over by Dialed Despatches to become D. D. Lamson. Further acquisitions and sales moved the pneumatic tube business through Crest Nicholson, Frederick Cooper, J. Bibby and Sons and now it is part of Quirepace.[4]


  1. ^ John LIFFEN (1999) The Development of Cash Handling Systems for Shops and Department Stores, Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 71:1, 79-101.
  2. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  3. ^ New Scientist 8 Mar 1973
  4. ^ "Quirepace Lamson – The UK's Leading Tube System Resource". Retrieved 20 January 2014.