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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Bounce Tube  
  A people-sized pneumatic tube system used for short, quick trips in the vertical dimension.  

Didn't I see these used on the Jetsons? That show premiered in 1962; I think the original version shows the family using some sort of pneumatic tube in place of an elevator.

On arrival I decided to forego the main entrance and took a bounce tube from the sub-basement to the twenty-first floor, I having at the time a vague feeling that this was not the place to let my public recognize me.
From Double Star, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Doubleday in 1956
Additional resources -

It's kind of a pneumatic tube for people. The biggest problems I can see are 1) maintaining pressure in the tube and 2) exiting the tube. Pressure behind the traveling capsule is maintained by virtue of the capsule having a collar that is in effect a gasket the same diameter as the inner diameter of the tube. Few people would choose to wear such a thing.

As far as exiting the system is concerned, in an actual "tube room" (I worked in one while working my way through college), pneumatic tubes are unceremoniously dumped into a padded bin. Not a very dignified form of arrival.

This may be a "rediscovery" idea by Heinlein; the concept was originally proposed by George Medhurst, a London businessman in the early nineteenth century. His second proposal in 1812 was for a system that delivered people!

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Double Star
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Double Star
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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