Fact File about the Invention of the Elevator: *** Date of Invention: 1852 *** Name of Inventor: Elisha Otis *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1811 - 1861 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution / Victorian (1850 - 1914) *** Category: Building and Construction *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor, Elisha Otis, and the invention ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Elevator? The first safety brake for the Elevator was invented by Elisha Otis in 1852 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1850 - 1914) which was a advancement in the area of Building and Construction.
Fact 2: Who invented the Elevator? The ancient Greek mathematician,
engineer and inventor Archimedes of Syracuse built the first known elevator in
Fact 3: Who invented the Elevator? The primitive elevator invented by
Archimedes was operated using a system of levers and pulleys by hoisting hemp
ropes that were wound around a drum with two weights at its end and rotated by
manpower applied to a capstan.
Fact 4: Who invented the Elevator? The Romans used the invention of the
ancient Greek elevator to enhance the 'entertainment' at the Roman Coliseum.
Elevators, winches and pulleys were used to raise and lower scenery and props
from the Hypogeum, the vast network of rooms, cells, tunnels and passages under
the Roman Colosseum. Vertical shafts containing 24 elevator cages operated by
ropes, pulleys and slaves led directly to the arena providing instant access for
fast changes to scenery, animals, convicts and gladiators.
Fact 5: Who invented the Elevator? The Romans also used winch systems to
construct the numerous Limes watchtowers as frontier (limes) fortifications that
served as boundaries to ancient Roman provinces against Germanic tribes
Fact 6: Who invented the Elevator? The ancient types of elevator were
also used in Europe during the Medieval period. Fortified castles and isolated
mountain monasteries used winch systems to access elevated entrances that were
not accessible from ground level.
Fact 7: Who invented the Elevator? An early elevator called a "flying
chair" was designed in 1743 for the French King Louis XV and installed at the
palace of Versailles. The flying chair, operated by counterweights and pulleys
was designed by Blaise-Henri Arnoult. The flying chair consisted of a small
cabinet through which a rope hung by which the occupant could pull the rope to
either lower or raise the chair.
Fact 8: Who invented the Elevator? The Industrial Revolution (1850 -
1914) saw the introduction of the hydraulic and steam powered elevator engines.
The hydraulic and steam elevator combinations of levers, counterweights, cranks,
wheels, windlass, wedges, pulleys, block and rope, primarily to lift materials.
The hydraulic elevators operated on a principle that water pump increased the
pressure of the main plunger which pushed freight compartment upwards.
Fact 9: Who invented the Elevator? The industrialization and rapid
urbanization of America led to the building of taller buildings in cities. These
taller buildings were made from fire-proof, iron framed structures with deep
Fact 10: Who invented the Elevator? The hydraulic elevator was not a
practical solution for tall buildings. The main plunger used to operate
hydraulic elevators required a pit below it that had to be as deep as the
building was tall! The problem was solved in 1850 by Henry Waterman of New York.
Henry Waterman invented a rope-geared elevator with multiple pulleys
Fact 11: Who invented the Elevator? The Henry Waterman standing rope
elevator resolved the problem of the plunger but created yet another huge
problem - if the rope were to snap while people were on the elevator they would
fall to their death.
Fact 11: Who invented the Elevator? George H. Fox introduced the use of
wire rope, invented by John Roebling in 1841, to replace the hemp rope that had
been used in the first Henry Waterman standing rope elevator elevators. But deep
concerns over the safety of people using elevators continued, the lift still
needed to be stopped safely.
Fact 12: Who invented the Elevator? The man who resolved this problem was
Elisha Graves Otis who, in 1852, invented the safety device that prevented the
elevator cabin from falling if the main cable broke. The Elisha Otis invention
of the safety elevator enabled the development of the new buildings called
Fact 13: Who invented the Elevator? The inventor of the first safety
brake for the Elevator, Elisha Otis, was born on August 3, 1811 in Halifax, Vermont, United States and died on April 8, 1861. Elisha Otis is not only famous as the American inventor of the
safety brake of the Elevator but also as a industrialist, designer and founder
of the Otis Elevator Company.
Fact 14: Who invented the Elevator? The early years of Elisha Otis were spent in Halifax, Vermont, United States where he was raised by his family.
He was the youngest of six children born to Stephen Otis and Phoebe Glynn. His
father was a justice of the peace and a state legislator. Elisha Otis received a
good, but basic, education and did not undertake higher education at a University.
Fact 15: Who invented the Elevator? Following his education his first job was
in the construction industry and he became a master mechanic in a bedstead
factory in Albany, New York. In 1852 the firm sent Elisha Otis to Yonkers, N.Y.,
to supervise the installation of machinery in a new factory.
Fact 16: Who invented the Elevator? It was the responsibility of Elisha
Otis to install one of the Henry Waterman standing rope elevators to facilitate
the easy movement of the firm's bedsteads.
Fact 17: Who invented the Elevator? After identifying the major safety
problem of using elevators to transport people he set about improving the
elevator design, focusing on safety.
Fact 18: Who invented the Elevator? The Elisha Otis elevator consisted of
an open platform which was raised by a cable between two vertical posts. His
safety device consisted of a used wagon spring that was attached to both the top
of the hoist platform and the overhead lifting cable. The spring engaged the
saw-toothed ratchet-bar beams on either side of the elevator shaft, that would
bring a falling hoist platform to a complete stop.
Fact 19: Who invented the Elevator? Elisha Otis left the bedstead factory
to work on his invention. On September 20, 1853 Elisha Otis made his first sale
and the Otis Elevator Company was launched.
Fact 20: Who invented the Elevator? Elisha Otis was a real showman and
put this extrovert side of his character to good use when promoting his invention of the
safety brake for Elevators at the 1854 World’s Fair in New York City’s Crystal
Fact 21: Who invented the Elevator? Elisha Otis put on a daring public
display at the 1854 World’s Fair in New York City’s Crystal Palace. His
elevator was displayed at the fair. Elisha Otis stood at the top of the open
shaft, its supporting rope was cut and then Otis displayed himself to the
shocked crowd standing in the elevator, safe and sound.
Fact 22: Who invented the Elevator? Orders for the safety elevator came
flooding in. Elisha Otis improved his invention still further when he a
three-way steam valve engine that provided more precise control of elevators in
motion. On March 23, 1857 the first commercial passenger elevator was installed
in the E.V. Haughwout and Company department store at Broadway and Broome Street
in New York City and the first Otis steam elevators were installed in 1859.
Fact 23: Who invented the Elevator? Elisha Otis died from diphtheria on April 8, 1861.
His company was then run by his sons Charles and Norton who built it into a
global giant, installing a safety elevator in Paris's Eiffel Tower in 1889 and
another in the Washington Monument in 1890. In 1913, the Otis Company installed
an elevator inside the 60-storey Woolworth Building in New York City, at that
time the world's tallest building.
Fact 24: Who invented the Elevator? In 1887 an African-American inventor
called Alexander Miles (May 18, 1838 - May 7, 1918) invented an automatically
opening and closing elevator door design. Alexander Miles was granted U.S.
Patent number 371,207, on October 11, 1887.
Fact 25: Who invented the Elevator? Toward the end of 19th century
several key discoveries regarding the use of
electricity. In 1880 German inventor Werner von Siemens harnessed the power
of electricity and built first electric elevator. In 1903 the gearless traction
elevator was introduced and in 1922 Westinghouse launched the fastest elevators
that had automatic landing mechanism with a speed of 420 meters/minute.
Impact: How did the Elevator impact the world? The invention of the
safety Elevator shaped the architecture and skylines of the cities in America
and across the world.