Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Invention Convention: You've Got Mail!

        Today we are used to the ability to get messages relatively quickly from all over the world through emails, text messages, blogs, internet, even snail mail. In Wilson’s time, however, it was not as easy for letters and messages to reach across oceans, or even across continents. The quickest forms of communication were the telegraph and the telephone. But, telegraphs were expensive and it was hard to express detail in them; and the telephone could be unreliable, and not everyone was able afford one. The easiest way to send detailed messages to your loved ones was to write them a letter and send it through the postal service. When you sent a letter overseas, or to someone on the opposite coast, the recipient would have to wait weeks to receive it by boat, or by car. This mode of delivery was not quick enough for inventor Clara Louisa Wells, so she submitted the following patent for a mail delivery system that included underwater tubes.

Invention of Miss Clara L. WELLS
Underwater pneumatic tubes

1. Centerfugal compressor
2. Electric motor for compressor
3. Hermetically sealed manifold for release of messages
4. Tube
5. Centerfugal aspirator
6. Hermetically sealed manifold for receipt of messages


For the transport of light packages by high speed there is cause to establish, between France and America, France and England, and also in the Mediterranean, an underwater pneumatic postal service.

To achieve this it is necessary to lay two lines of tubes, one for going and one for returning.
Carefully adjusted and hermetically sealed boxes could slide through the tubes. These boxes would contain letters or packages for transport.
These would be put into motion by the difference of pressure between their front and back, as at one end of the tube a powerful pneumatic machine would create a vacuum, while at the other end a powerful compressor would deliver constant pressure. The speed obtained in this manner would be very great and the distance very quickly covered. These tubes could follow the underwater routes already invented by the undersigned.

Signed: Miss Clara Louisa WELLS, deposited, Ste. Colombe-les-Vienne, Rhône, Ave. Garon.

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