Tuesday, 14 July 2009


One last look at Grahamstown, and a thing no-one ever believes me about. This contraption is the central hub of Birch's department store's payment system. Birch's was pretty swanky in it's day: ladies (or gentlemen, depending on the department) served customers at various counters. A slip was written out for purchases, and the money and the slip place in a wooden container (you can see it in the bottom left photo, on the end of the metal arm). The assistant pulled a dangling handle, and the container whizzed off along a wire to the cash desk. The cashier made change and sent it back to the counter. It seemed like magic.

Birch's also had dusty polystyrene dioramas above their shelves, all around the shop. I remember a lot of neon orange, purple, and olive green. And the sense of a slightly deranged mind behind it all.


ArtSparker said...

What a lovely, delicate contraption that is.

alex sunday said...

hehe, i love the payment system!

L'Atelier said...

it's brilliant!

Anabel Fournier said...

Amazing! Never seen something like it! Great photos!

lula cat said...

That's so cool!
I want one in my house to pass notes to my housemate!!