What am I riding?

March 23, 2017

Like all things that have their ups and downs,  Otis elevators did not get off to a rousing start.  People were afraid to trust the new devices.  To allay their fears,

” . . . the company’s founder, Elisha Otis Graves, decided to make a dramatic demonstration at the New York Crystal Palace, a grand exhibition hall built for the 1853 Worlds Fair.

The company recounts this milestone in its history.

Perched on a hoisting platform high above the crowd at New York’s Crystal Palace, a pragmatic mechanic shocked the crowd when he dramatically cut the only rope suspending the platform on which he was standing. The platform dropped a few inches, but then came to a stop. His revolutionary new safety brake had worked, stopping the platform from crashing to the ground. “All safe, gentlemen!” the man proclaimed.

Otis’ demonstration had the desired effect. He sold seven elevators that year, and 15 the next. When Otis died only seven years later his company, now run by his sons, was well on its way. By 1873 there were 2,000 Otis elevators in use. They expanded to Europe and Russia. In rapid succession his company got the commissions for the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building and the original Woolworth Building — in its day, the world’s tallest. In 1967, Otis Elevator installed all 255 elevators and 71 escalators in the World Trade Center.

But the very first commercial installation was on March 23, 1857, at a five-story department store at Broadway and Broome Street in what is now New York City’s SoHo district.”

Happy Elevator Day


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