How Old Is This Elevator ?

The first reference to an elevator is in the works of the Roman architect Vitruvius, who reported that Archimedes built his first elevator, probably in 236 B.C. In some literary sources of later historical periods, elevators were mentioned as cabs on a hemp rope and powered by hand or by animals. It is supposed that elevators of this type were installed in the Sinai monastery of Egypt. In the 17th century the prototypes of elevators were located in the palace buildings of England and France.

In 1793 Ivan Kulibin created an elevator with the screw lifting mechanism for the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg. In 1816 an elevator was established in the main building of sub Moscow village called Arkhangelskoye. In 1823, an "ascending room" made its debut in London.

In the middle 1800's, there were many types of crude elevators that carried freight. Most of them ran hydraulically. The first hydraulic elevators used a plunger below the car to raise or lower the elevator. A pump applied water pressure to a plunger, or steel column, inside a vertical cylinder. Increasing the pressure allowed the elevator to descend. The elevator also used a system of counter-balancing so that the plunger did not have to lift the entire weight of the elevator and its load. The plunger, however, was not practical for tall buildings, because it required a pit as deep below the building as the building was tall. Later a rope-geared elevator with multiple pulleys was developed.

Henry Waterman of New York is credited with inventing the "standing rope control" for an elevator in 1850.

In 1852, Elisha Otis introduced the safety elevator, which prevented the fall of the cab if the cable broke. The design of the Otis safety elevator is somewhat similar to one type still used today. A governor device engages knurled roller(s), locking the elevator to its guides should the elevator descend at excessive speed. He demonstrated it at the New York exposition in the Crystal Palace in 1854.

On March 23, 1857 the first Otis passenger elevator was installed at 488 Broadway in New York City. The first elevator shaft preceded the first elevator by four years. Construction for Peter Cooper's Cooper Union building in New York began in 1853. An elevator shaft was included in the design for Cooper Union, because Cooper was confident that a safe passenger elevator would soon be invented. The shaft was cylindrical because Cooper felt it was the most efficient design. Later Otis designed a special elevator for the school . Today the Otis Elevator Company, now a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transport systems.

The first electric elevator was built by Werner von Siemens in 1880. The safety and speed of electric elevators were significantly enhanced by Frank Sprague.

In 1874, J.W. Meaker patented a method which permitted elevator doors to open and close safely. U.S. Patent 147,853

In 1882, when hydraulic power was a well established technology,a company later named the London Hydraulic Power Company was formed. It constructed a network of high pressure mains on both sides of the Thames which, ultimately, extended to 184 miles and powered some 8,000 machines, predominantly lifts (elevators) and cranes.

In 1929, Clarence Conrad Crispen, with Inclinator Company of America, created the first residential elevator. Crispen also invented the first inclined stairlift.


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