What the Heck is a Pneumatic Tube?: Background information when reading The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

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The Death-Defying Pepper Roux

By Geraldine McCaughrean

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2010,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: May 2012,
    352 pages.

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
What the Heck is a Pneumatic Tube?

One of the hats that Pepper wears is that of a meat slicer in the Marseille Department Store. There are no cash registers in the store. Instead, whenever a customer pays for something, the money is placed in a canister, which is inserted into a tube, and then the canister is shot by compressed air through a maze of tubing and lands at a cashier's cubicle, where the cashier takes the money, makes change, and sends the canister whizzing back to the customer.

What great fun! Pepper spends much of his time after-hours in the department store, sending canisters sailing overhead through the tubes like little rocket ships. But what are these devices, exactly?

They are, exactly, pneumatic tubes.

Pneumatic tubes are part of a group of tools and instruments called pneumatic devices, which use compressed air to make something move. The idea of pneumatic tube transport (or capsule pipeline) was invented in 1806 by Phineas Balk, but was only seen as a spectacular invention until the ...

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