Invention of the Elevator Back in the days of the 1850’s through 1900’s the invention of the elevator was a big step for civilization. The people went from old fashion stairs to for them a minute ride of luxury and realization (opposed to climbing stairs). An American inventor named Elisha Graves Otis was the first person to invent the mechanical elevator with adequate safety devices, such as safety brakes which gripped on to the elevator cab’s rails. Safey cables which looped around a drum that was attached to the driving motor. These cables were made out of heavy steel instead of rope that would wear and tear within a couple of weeks or maybe possibly a month.
While on the other hand steel cables could last for a couple of years. Otis showed off his invention for the first time ar the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York City in 1854. People were estatic about the safety issue of the clamping arrangement that gripped the guide rails on which the elevator car moved when tension was released from the hoist cable. Which meant that if by chance the hoist cable ever snapped, clamps would grip the rails to keep the elevator cab from dropping and smashing at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Most of the United States civilization started to like elevators.
Now that they were safer, people decided that elevators would take less time and less stress then taking the stairs. The first elevator was steam powered. It wasn’t until later on when elevators had and electric motor. A New York department store called Haughwout Department store made the news and history books in 1957 because they were the first one to have a passenger elevator, driven by steam power installed. The store was five stories high. Hundreds even thousands went into Haughwout a day to see and try out the new elevator. Soon after Haughwout installed their elevator other businesses and apartment buildnings started putting them in.
Now that elevators are here cities could grow. Let me tell you why, because in the cities before elevators came about apartment buildings and stores were no more than five stories high and for a valid reason. No one would rent an apartment on the tenth floor if they had to take the stairs. So once the elevators came around buildings began to grow up. Think about it we wouldn’t have skyscrapers because again on one would want to climb that many stairs.
No skyscrapers would put a burden on the country. I think because a lot of people make their living by building and designing skyscrapers. That’s thousands of people who would be working other jobs they didn’t want to or they would be unemployed. In 1889 another big building in New York City made the record and history books being the first building to install an electrically driven passenger elevator. This building was the Demarst Building.
This elevator had an electric motor to drive a winding drum in the building’s basement. You held a lever turning it on and you stopped at the floor you wanted to. It wasn’t until 1894 when the push button control panel was introduced. This panel made the elevator very easy to use. All you had to do was walk into the elevator push the button for the floor you wanted to go to and the elevator takes you there.
And if by chance the elevator got stuck or there was an emergency there was a button you could ppush so a bell would rind and someone would hear it and call for help. These buttons made the operation of the elevator so easy that even a toddler could work it. Later that year a hoisting aparatus was demonstrated in England. This aparatus applied electric power to a pulley at the top of the shaft. The weight of the car and counter weights guaranteed traction.
This made it possible to move the cable drum to the top of the shaft, leading to higher shafts in taller buildings. For example, the Empire State Building in New York City would have needed this aparatus because at the time this was to be the tallest building in the world. Now you think that all of these elevator impprovements are interesting just wait there is one more thing that totally interested and amazed me. In 1899 glass walls or transparent walls were put in on the elevator instead of metal walls. So now you could see out of the elevator on your ride either up or down.
The best example of this that I can give you is that one of these type elevators was installed on the Eiffel Tower so that you would be able to see the great sights of Paris, France and all of the city lights at night. Between 1854 and 1900 the evolution of elevators was tremendous. It is mostly all thanks to Elisha Graves Otis for coming up and pursuing his idea. His invention aided the people of the United States at first and then worked itself around the world. It opened up extra jobs to run. The elevators as elevator operators at hotels and department stores, elevator repair people and the construction workers to build them.
So the next time you are riding in an elevator, just remember all the hard work that was put into the design of the elevator and don’t forget that you are very safe.