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Elisha Otis installed the first commercial elevator
the elevator
Elisha Otis installed the first commercial elevator

On March 23rd, 1857, Elisha Otis installed the first commercial elevator, at what used to be a department store in the E. V. Haughwout Building, in SoHo, New York.

The concept for elevators dates as far back as 336 BC, in Ancient Rome. More modern usage followed in France (at the service of King Louis XV) and England in the eighteenth century, and all of these early models were open cars.

In the 1800s, systems using enclosed spaces powered by hydraulic and steam pressure were devised to power these "ascending rooms", thus getting rid of the need for manual power. These systems were not very safe as the cables could snap at any time, resulting in the elevator's free fall.

Otis' innovation consisted in creating a braking system that would lock the elevator into its guides, should the governor device (used to measure speed) detect the elevator was moving at dangerously high speeds (which would happen if the hoisting cables gave out). In a dramatic demonstration at the 1853 New York's World's Fair, Otis had the steel cable cut from an elevator shaft. The safety brake snapped into place, stopping the cab from plummeting. As such, Otis is seen as the father of the modern elevator.

The Otis Elevator Company, founded in 1853, has been commissioned to install elevators all around the world, from the World Trade Center and the Eiffel Tower, to the Burj Khalifa and the Skylon Tower. It is generally considered that the skyscraper revolution could happen thanks to Otis' invention.
Haughwout Building in SoHo, New York
March 23rd, 1857
post by Chanez Baali
project: The Glass Files @onthisday via Instagram
artwork | on this day | history | architecture | science | innovation | invention | all safe gentlemen | safety brake | otis elevator company | vertical transportation | vertical captivity | flying chair | elevator
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