History of Elevators Part 3

About the history of elevators and their inventors, varieties and safety features.


In July, 1945, an army bomber rammed the fog-shrouded 79th floor of the Empire State Building. The impact ripped the elevator cables, and an elevator with two passengers aboard fell from the 75th floor into the subbasement. Little hope was held for the passengers, but-thanks to a safety device that had slowed the plunge-they were alive. A Coast Guard medic who happened to be at the scene was the first to crawl into the elevator. A badly injured woman mistook him for a sailor and thanked God the navy had come to rescue her.

If you feel you must worry about riding elevators, do so when the doors open and close, because that's when most of the considerably less than 1,000 annual elevator accidents occur.

The other time you might worry is if you happen to be in an elevator during an earthquake. During a brief quake in southern California, some of the counterweights that move along with the cabs swung erratically and smashed through the cabs.

If you happen to be in Japan-and if there are no earthquakes-you will find that elevators there offer a smoother ride on the whole than those in the U.S. One industry spokesman says, "Japanese elevators are very smooth because the Japanese are very sensuous people, whereas the people in the Western world are more in a hurry and a smooth ride isn't considered as important."

Today elevators can be found in almost every part of the world and in every place from theatrical stages to jumbo jets. They have helped change the way the world lives. If you don't believe it, take a look around next time you are in a big city and try to imagine what it would look like if they weren't there.

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