When we use an elevator, it looks like they operate themselves. After all, we only have to push a simple button and we are on our merry way. With this said, the physics and technology behind the average elevator is far more complicated that one may presume. Not only is there incredibly complicated machinery inside the mechanics of an elevator, a lot of its function relies on the science of physics. In order to help our potential customers and clients develop a better understanding of how an elevator works, we are going to briefly go over the basics…

Energy Consumption

When it comes to science, elevators operate based on energy, in particular the law of conservation of energy. This basically means that when we are climbing the stairs, for example, we have to move our body against the force of gravity and the energy that is created is converted into something called potential energy. In terms of elevators, scientists see a piece of machinery that can increase or decrease someone’s potential energy without requiring them to supply any energy themselves.


The oldest elevators in history were hoists controlled by animals and slave labour. Luckily, the modern versions are much more advanced. In fact, they are balanced using a counterweight which weighs around 40-50% of the weight an elevator can carry. In basic terms, when the elevator goes down, the counterweight will go up and this helps keep the cab balanced. There are many reasons why a counterweight is necessary however the main one is to reduce the amount of work that the motor has to do.

Safety Break

Although many people think that an elevator cable could snap and leave them falling to their demise, elevators are actually safer than many people think. This is all down to a man named Elisha Graves Otis who invented a high-quality safety break back in the 1860’s in order to prevent such incidents from occurring. His method has been modernised and now makes using elevators 25 times safer than driving a car!

Being able to understand how an elevator works is not a vital thing to know when you are purchasing one. With this said, it can help you understand why issues may occur and how important maintenance actually is. For more information get in contact with a member of the Elevators Ltd team today. As the best lift company around, we strive to provide perfection when it comes to our range of residential and commercial elevators!