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Palo Alto, California

Obscura Society SF: Private Visit to the Stanford Hospital Pneumatic Tube System

Join us at Stanford University Hospital for a look at one the world's largest existing pneumatic tube systems in use today

Once upon a time, pneumatic tube networks were common, racing messages and parcels through pressurized air systems in big buildings, libraries and under city streets. Today, they are all but vanished.

At Stanford Hospital however, four miles of tubing snake though the medical center, allowing doctors and administrators to whiz patient information, critical specimens and documents through the facility using cutting edge, 19th century technology. 124 stations and 141 transfer points are serviced by 29 blowers, speeding parcels through the system at 25 feet/second, saving time and couriers.

Stanford has graciously offered once again to open their doors to us to show us this rare example of retro-tech at work - join us for this unusual opportunity.


  • Saturday, January 26, 1-3 pm
  • Address: Stanford University Hospital Center, 300 Pasteur Dr., Palo Alto CA
  • Please meet in front of the fountain at Stanford University Hospital at 1pm.

Photo taken at Obscura Day 2011. Used with permission. See the whole set here