Going up and down stairs is a duty every man, woman and child finds it necessary to perform daily and in many cases hourly, and some means for doing this is necessary in every modern household. Even in the old-time one-story house, steps from the outside to the inside were usually necessary, and when the two or more storied houses came into use the stairway became an indispensable feature. In modern times the art of building has had such an upward trend that edifices looming far into the air, hotels, stores, apartment houses, office buildings, etc., have come into use, one notable specimen, the Woolworth building in New York, towering upwards to fifty-four stories in height. This upward tendency has rendered the elevator, or lifting apparatus, an indispensable necessity, alike for passengers and freight, and it has been installed abundantly in all our large cities.
In Order to Ascend More Easily, Man Devised the Stairway, from which, in Turn, was Developed the Escalator, in Order to Further Eliminate Physical Effort.
Primitive Man Pulled Himself up a Ladder when He Wanted to Go from One Level to Another.
The elevator is not exactly a new idea. Its pioneer form may be traced back to the Middle Ages, when heavy weights were lifted by aid of an apparatus worked by hand power. But it was not until well on into the nineteenth century that the steam-power elevator came into service. The first example is said to have been produced by Elisha Graves Otis, who applied steam power to an elevating machine in a little shop at Yonkers, on the banks of the Hudson, New York. A few years later, at the International Exhibition of 1853 in New York, he displayed the first elevator with a safety device to prevent the car from falling in case of a broken cable.
The elevator was then a novelty. It has long since grown into a necessity. It is to be seen in all hotels and high buildings, and the art of getting up stairs has in very many cases changed into that of being lifted up by a moving car in an enclosed shaft or cage. The steam elevator, at first used, has now in great measure been replaced by the electric elevator, the first moved by an electric motor being the Otis elevator installed in the Demarest Building, New York, in 1889. This is still in active use.
*Illustrations by courtesy of the Otis Elevator Co.
The first electric elevators were confined to the drum type of machine, these having a grooved drum around which the hoisting cables were wound, the drum being revolved through worm gearing by an electric motor. But the erection of buildings, ranging from 200 to 700 feet in height has put this type of traction out of business on account of the great size of drums required and the necessary slowness of motion. It has been replaced by the electric traction elevator. In this the hoisting cables from which the car is suspended have at the other end a counterweight and pass around driving sheaves in place of a drum. This, in its latest form known as the gearless traction elevator, does away with all intricate machinery, and yields a machine moving with equal speed whatever the height.
An Elevator of the Muddle Ages History tells us this form of elevator was used in monasteries for hoisting passengers and supplies..
(234) Elevator Installation in the Woolworth Building, New York
To obviate danger from accidents, safety devices are installed for gripping the rails in case of the car attaining excessive speed. Another feature of security is the oil cushion buffer. One of these is placed in the hoistway under the car and one under the counterweight, they being capable of bringing a car to rest from full speed without discomfort to those in the car. The oil in the buffer is driven by the impact of the car from one chamber of the buffer to another, but this is made to take place at a fixed rate of retardation, the oil acting as a liquid cushion which stops the car gradually and without shock.
To do business in the modern lofty building without the aid of elevators (or lifts, as they are called in England) is today out of the question, while the great grain-transporting edifices in cities in which our annual crops are lifted and lowered, are known by the specific name of elevators. There is, however, another means of getting up and down stairs which is coming somewhat rapidly into use and in which the old stairway is restored. It is one in which the stair itself does the moving instead of the passengers upon it. This new and interesting device is known as an escalator.
The earliest way to get upward from the ground was that adopted by climbing animals in clambering up tree trunks, and by man himself in "shinning" up trees by aid of his arms and legs. This was followed by the plank leading from a lower to a higher level, by the ladder, and finally by the stairway. In our days the stairway has been put on a set of revolving wheels and moves upward itself, carrying its passengers with no need on their part to use their feet. This simple but effective device is known as the escalator.
It is a very useful contrivance for tired shoppers needing to make their way from floor to floor in the great department stores, for travelers on subway or elevated railways, for large mills, theaters, or other places where easy getting up and down stairs is necessary. The escalator is a simple device. No intricate machinery is needed. It is so arranged as to be always going, traveling upwards or downwards, and returning out of sight below. It has been called "an elevator with the doors always open." It is capable of carrying all the passengers who can crowd upon it,
A Steam-Driven Elevator of Early Date.
Battery of Elevators in a Department Store.
Electric Dumbwaiter Installation with Machine in Basement Showing Call Buttons
A Complete Installation of a 2: 1 Electric Traction Passenger Elevator, Showing Machine and Controller at Top of Hatchway.
This elevator is used where the slower speeds are required as in department stores.
Escalator or Moving Stairway at Sixth Avenue and Thirty-third Street Station of Elevated Railway, New York City.
A Duplex Escalator of the Cleat Type in a Department Store This type of escalator makes use of hard wood cleats in place of steps..
stepping on or off at the bottom or top, it being estimated that more than 10,000 people an hour can be thus moved.
The Cleat Escalator.
In the original type of escalator the steps flatten out into a level platform at top and bottom, easy to step on and off, and divide into regular steps as they climb upward, passengers in a hurry being able to hasten their speed by walking at the same time that they are carried. Another type is that known as the cleat escalator. In this there are no steps, it being composed of hardwood cleats moving in longitudinal ridges and grooves, there being a handrail on either side moving at the same speed. The platform glides through the prongs of a comb at the lower level and journeys upward at a moderate speed. At the upper level it disappears through a similar comb and returns out of sight. The passengers slide off upon the prongs of the comb at the top and land without jar or shock. Both these types of escalators can be made to move up or down by aid of a swinging switch, or two of them can be placed side by side, one moving upward and the other downward.
An Escalator or Moving Stairway for the Use of Employees in a Large Worsted Mill.
The Moving Platform.
A device acting on the same principle is the moving platform, with the difference that this may be of indefinite length and act as a sort of railway for carrying passengers from place to place. The passenger steps from a sideway at rest to one in moderate motion, and from this to a second one moving more rapidly, and in this way can be carried horizontally at a fair rate of speed. On reaching his station he has but to step back on the slower platform and from this to the moveless side-way. The pioneer example of this contrivance was installed on a long pier leading into Lake Michigan at the Chicago Exposition of 1893, and plans for putting it into practical use in various cities have been entertained. None of these, however, have yet been put into effect. Certain drawbacks, possibly that of cost of installation and operation, has served as a hindrance.
A Cleat Type Escalator, Showing the Hardwood Cleats Used in Place of Steps.
A Gravity Conveyor of the Single Spiral Open Type For the quick and safe conveyance of heavy goods from upper to lower levels..