Here at Elevators Ltd, we like to educate our readers about the inventors that paved the way for the elevator industry to become what it is today. After all, it is thanks to these individuals that we have such advanced machinery and technology that paved the way for skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa to come into fruition. In fact, one of the most famous men that every elevator enthusiast should know is Elisha Graves Otis. Read on as we go over three facts you may not know about this American-born inventor…

  1. Elisha Graves Otis was born in Vermont in 1811 and resisted following in his parent’s footsteps, who were farmers. In fact, anything mechanical interested Otis from a very young age and it is said that he was intrigued by the small factories and the technological advances that would lead into America’s industrial age. With this said, Elisha drifted from job to job and never really settled down long enough to build a career.
  • The turning point came when Otis decided to follow a friend, Josiah Maize, to New Jersey to open a factory that crafted bed frames, rather than going to California during the gold rush. Eventually, Otis was put in charge of moving the factory from Bergen and this task required the use of hoists in order to transport the heavy equipment. During the 19th century, these hoists were simply a platform that was lifted by thick rope cables, which would often fray and cause the equipment to fall to the ground. This lead to the development of Otis’ most famous mechanical invention, which revolutionised the elevator industry.
  • Otis was a keen inventor and his creation of a safety hoist in order to move Maize’s equipment was one of the most important elevator developments throughout history. During this time, these safety hoists were used exclusively for freight and people were unconvinced of their safety. As a result, Otis decided to debut his new safety break elevator at the New York World’s Fair; standing on top of a hoist suspended in the air, Otis ordered the rope holding it in place to be cut with an axe. After falling a few inches, his safety break invention swung into action and stopped the heavy platform from falling.

From passenger elevators to parking lifts, it is no secret that the elevator industry would not be as successful as it is today without the hard work of Elisha Graves Otis. After all, his safety break revolutionised the abilities of the hoist elevator and transformed it from a freight lift into the passenger lift it is today. To find out more information about the history behind the elevator, get in contact with the best lift company around and speak to a member of the Elevators Ltd team today!