An Exterior Escalator

Perhaps the most visible moving stairway in the world today is the cascade of escalators that are cantilevered out from the side of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Enclosed in what appear to be glass tubes that snake up the side of the museum building, the series of escalators provide its riders with a breathtaking view of the city.

Flatiron Building, New York, NY

Officially known as the Fuller Building, New York City’s 21-story Flatiron Building, which was completed in 1902, was famous for it’s hydraulic elevators. The action of hydraulic cylinders on ropes and pulleys raised and lowered the elevator cars. A piston raised the elevator in its shaft. The principle underlying the operation of these elevators continued to be a topic of… Continue reading

Empress Maria Theresa

Another example of a very early elevator – in her final years, the ailing empress Maria Theresa would be lowered into the Crypt of the Capuchins by means of an “elevator” to pray at the graves of her parents.

First Passenger Elevator

The first passenger elevator was installed in the Haughwout and Company (a New York porcelain and glass dealer) building on March 23, 1857. However, isolated examples of passenger “elevators” were found between the late seventeenth century and the early nineteenth century. For example, the Jena mathematician, Erhard Weigel, had a house built around 1670 in which he installed an arrangement… Continue reading

Elisha Otis

Early elevators were mainly used for freight because it was fairly common for the lifting rope to break and the elevator would then free fall. Elisha Otis, a mechanical engineer, invented a safety brake that would stop the elevator from falling thereby allowing the elevator to become a people mover.

The Eiffel Tower

Erected in 1889, the Eiffel Tower stood 986 feet tall and contained five hydraulic elevators by three different manufacturers. The top platform provided a view of 80 miles in every direction on a clear day. It offered a new view of the world only possible because of the elevators.