Sites: GlobalSpec.com | GlobalSpec Electronics | CR4 | Electronics360
Login | Register
The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®


"On This Day" In Engineering History

Tune in to find out about significant engineering events that took place "on this day".

Previous in Blog: March 20, 1922 – America’s First Aircraft Carrier   Next in Blog: March 25, 1807 – The First Passenger Railway
Close

Comments Format:






Close

Subscribe to Discussion:

CR4 allows you to "subscribe" to a discussion
so that you can be notified of new comments to
the discussion via email.

Close

Rating Vote:







2 comments

March 23, 1857 – The First Passenger Elevator is Installed

Posted March 23, 2007 6:00 AM by julie

On this day in engineering history, Elisha Otis' first elevator for public use was installed at 488 Broadway, New York City. The building was a five-story department store owned by E.W. Haughtwhat and Company. Although Elisha Otis had invented the safety elevator, which prevented the fall of the cab if the cable broke, back in 1853, it wasn't until March 23, 1857 that the first commercial passenger elevator was installed.

Elisha Otis' elevator followed existing patterns and consisted of a platform set between vertical guide rails. The platform was raised and lowered on a rope wound around an overhead drum. The drum turned via belting that looped across the floor to a central, continuously-turning steam engine. The difference between the Otis elevator and previous designs was the automatic safety device that Otis created and coupled to his machine. This important invention ensured public confidence, allowing the elevator to move from freight transportation to human transportation.

Elevators had been used for material transportation as early as the 3rd century BC and were moved by water, human or animal power. When Elisha Otis invented his freight elevator in 1853, he relied on steam for power. In the early 1870's, hydraulic machines began to replace steam-powered elevators. Modern elevators are one of two types of designs: traction elevators and hydraulic elevators. In a traction elevator, cars are pulled by rolling steel ropes over a pulley and are balanced by a counterweight. The friction between the rope and the pulley furnishes the traction which gives this type of elevator its name. Hydraulic elevators use the principal of hydraulics to pressurize an aboveground or in-ground piston to raise and lower the car.

Interestingly, the first elevator shaft for human transportation was built in 1853, four years before the installation of the Otis elevator at 488 Broadway, New York City. Peter Cooper, a prolific inventor and successful industrialist, installed an elevator shaft in his Cooper Union building because he was confident that a safety elevator would soon be invented. In fact, Cooper had a circular elevator shaft installed because he felt this was the most efficient design. Eventually, Elisha Otis designed a passenger elevator especially for Cooper's school.

Otis elevators have been installed in some of the world's most famous structures, including the Eiffel Tower, the London Underground, the Kremlin, the Empire State Building, the former World Trade Center and the Petronas Twin Towers. Today, the Otis Elevator Company is owned by United Technologies Corporation and is the world's most popular transportation company. According to United Technologies, Otis elevators carry the equivalent of the world's population every nine days.

Resources:

http://www.theelevatormuseum.org/timeline.htm

http://www.otis.com/otis150/default/1,2341,CLI1_RES1,00.html

http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blelevator.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis_Elevator_Company

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevemelito
Posts: 3506
Good Answers: 32
#1

Re: March 23, 1857 – The First Passenger Elevator is Installed

03/29/2007 11:56 AM

Elevator testing is generally not one of those things that you ever think about, but the Otis Research Center is pretty impressive. The 29-story test tower in Bristol, CT must stick out like a sore thumb.

Reply
Power-User
United States - Member - Popular Science - Evolution - Aren't we still evolving?

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Troy, NY
Posts: 221
#2

Re: March 23, 1857 – The First Passenger Elevator is Installed

03/29/2007 12:36 PM

The testing facility is quite interesting!

It is 29 stories tall, has 11 elevators and 1 escalator, but no windows.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 2 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Blog: March 20, 1922 – America’s First Aircraft Carrier   Next in Blog: March 25, 1807 – The First Passenger Railway
You might be interested in: Elevators, Escalators and Moving Walkways, Vertical Conveyors, Industrial Conveyors