The older generation may be able to recall a time when elevators were controlled by people rather than automatic electronics. In fact, these people were known as Elevator Operators and they were employed to take you to the floor you required. In the modern 21st century, we rely on technology so much that elevator operates have become extinct and are often only found in historical or tourist areas. Read on as we go over the job role of an operator and hypothesise why they have disappeared over the years…

Charm School

The majority of elevator operators were women who were expected to attend something known as ‘charm school’. Here they would learn how to polish their social skills for the job. The operators offered a personal touch for passengers, providing a friendly face and greeting regular visitors in a building. In fact, there was also a uniform that the operators were expected to wear which completed the professional look that the women had to present.


Although it sounds simple, Elevator Operators had to have a natural flare for the job in order to deliver an impressive service. After all, there was much more to it than just pressing buttons. For example, there was a hand control called a rheostat level that the operators would use in order to control the speed and direction of the cab. This meant that the women had to pay close attention to detail and line up the cab with the floor perfectly in order to allow the passengers to get on and off safely.

The Rise of Technology

Elevator operators were incredibly common during the first few decades of the 20th century and you were very likely to see them in grand buildings like hotels. With this said, advancements in technology during the 1960’s saw many people replacing elevator operators in favour of the latest automated cabs. After all, they were much more cost effective than hiring paid workers and were a great way to stay on trend. As a result, elevator operators gradually went out of fashion, which left thousands of people out of work.

Here at Elevators Ltd, we find the history of our industry extremely interesting, which is why we want to educate our readers as much as possible. After all, elevator operators are an incredibly important part of history as a whole and actually paved the way for the advancements in elevator technology that we use today. To find out more information, get in contact with the best lift company around today!