Elevators are in pretty much every multi-storey building now. They are a handy alternative to the dreaded stairs and it’s hard to deny that they have made the general public quite lazy. Over the years, a lot of years to be exact, elevators have adapted and developed to be the fully functioning and modern machines they are today. Here is the history of elevators…

In the Beginning…

Elevators can be traced all the way back to the third century BC. Now that’s a long time ago! In fact, when they were first developed during the middle ages elevators were what we call a hoist today. During these times, animal and human power as well as water driven mechanisms were used to operate the hoists.

The elevators we know and recognise today were first developed during the 1800’s and were operated by steam and hydraulic plungers. They were operated by the people using the elevator who would use ropes inside in order to direct the valves which controlled the water flow. This system was developed with level controls and pivots which allowed the speed to be controlled.

The power elevator was released during the mid-19th century in the United States as a freight hoist and it was operated between two floors within a NYC building. In 1853, a man called Elisha Graves Otis demonstrated to a crowd the idea of an elevator with a safety precaution which would break a fall. This was an integral part of the development of elevators and lifts.

According to history, by 1857, the first Otis elevator was being used in a NYC department store. Ten years after this, Elisha’s sons found the company Otis Brothers and Company in which they achieved a mass production of elevators. Other designs including the screw driven and rope geared models were eventually introduced too.

Here at Elevators Ltd, we’re all about elevators, old and new. Our elevators are as modern as one would expect- however we find the history of their development very interesting. We owe it to these professionals for the product we know and love today! Check back for part two of this blog series where we will discuss the introduction of electrically powered elevators. Make sure to get in contact with the best lift company Southampton has to offer for all your elevator related inquiries!