Chances are, you’ve never actually seen a pneumatic tube based mail system, however, you’ve almost certainly seen one on TV. Like that episode of the Simpsons where Marge gets a job in the power plant and Homer sends all her paper work into the tube, where it disappears forever, never to be seen again.
The thing is, prior to email, those fancy tubes were actually, pretty much the best way to get a message or tube shaped object from one place to another in a short space of time. It’s at this point we’d like to point out that cats are kind of cylinder shaped and that god can’t see through tubes. If you can’t see where this is going, someone once posted a live cat through one of those pneumatic tubes for a bet. What kind of sick irresponsible person would do that you ask? Oh, just the New York City post office of course. Okay so it was in 1897, way before this would have gotten you in trouble with PETA, but it still happened.
The best part is, their brazen act of animal cruelty only inspired others to attempt to top them by sending larger and larger animals through the tubes, it’s reported that everything from dogs to monkeys were crammed into tubes and posted in what historians have narrowed down to either, an elaborate a joke on one particular post office or the world’s worst attempt at spreading rabies. If you’re currently feeling a little uneasy at all this information, we’d like to reassure you and say that these tubes weren’t always used to torture innocent animals for fun, sometimes they were actually used to help them. In fact, it wasn’t unheard of for worried pet owners to cram their furry friends into the tubes and launch them towards the local vet’s office with a note and we’d hope a light snack for whomever had to remove the animal at the other end. Apparently pets in the Early 20th century were remarkably more metal than they are today.
If you’re feeling sad or down today, just realise that your day couldn’t be as bad as the poor vet who got an angry cat and 20 city blocks worth of angry cat terror-poop in his mail. Or as bad as the cat whose owner decided to shove it in there in the first place. We probably should have led with the cat one, shouldn’t we?