Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
BackSearch
Railroad conductor's ticket and cash case
Catalog #: 334,930, Accession #: 315,321
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
Leather covered steel frame case. Name "A. Randall" engraved in leather. Leather handle on top of case held in place by six brass rivets. Body has blue paper liner. Top has red felt liner with ornate manufacturer's label, A. R. Pritchard, 78 State St., Rochester, NY 1860c. Brass lock. Purchase price $30.00.
Physical Description
12 1/2 x 8 1/4" x 6" Leather covered steel frame case. Name "A. Randall" engraved in leather. Leather handle on top of case held in place by six brass rivets. Body has blue paper liner. Top has red felt liner with ornate manufacturer's label, A. R. Pritchard, 78 State St., Rochester, NY 1860c. Brass lock.
Details
Date Made:
about 1860
Dates Used:
ca. 1860s - ca. 20th C
Note:
U.S., but where case used is not clear.
Credit:
Purchase
History

A railroad conductor on a passenger train was (and is today) the supervising officer of the train and supervisor of the entire train crew. In addition to this supervisory role, the passenger-train conductor serves as the purser, in charge of seeing to it that all fares are collected, either by himself personally or by his assistants, the uniformed trainmen on board. After fares are collected, the conductor does the accounting. A passenger-carrying railroad company was (and is) thus dependent on responsible and diligent conductors for its income.

In the days before laptop computers and scanned tickets, the passenger-train conductor carried redeemed tickets or stubs, as well as cash, in a locked case. On a passenger train, a conductor appropriated an unassigned passenger compartment as his office, and the ticket case was kept locked in the compartment when the conductor made his rounds.

This case is a very early one, dating to the 1860s or 1870s. It was probably used into the 20th century.

National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits