The Elevator Homepage: Welcome
Elevators are one of those things that we all take for granted, most of us use them every day without really thinking about what is involved in designing and building them. In fact the elevator is the most commonly used vehicle in the world by far, it is also one of the most high tech. Most people don't really think of the elevator as an important piece of transportation technology but the reality is it has had a massive impact on our lives. The shape of the modern city has been determined by the elevator. Without the elevator there would be no sky scrapers. That would completely change the way we live since cities would need to be much more spread out.
The elevator has been around for quite awhile but it really became an important part of building construction in the 1850's when Elisha Otis created the safety elevator. Up until then an elevator was little more than a box suspended beneath a rope, hardly the safest way of getting up stairs. If the rope where to fail elevators could and did fall, almost certainly killing anybody inside them. The great breakthrough came when Otis added a safety mechanism that prevented the elevator from falling if the rope where to break. This gave people a lot more confidence in elevators and made them something that people would actually use.
The elevator was the critical to the development of the skyscraper. Without them there was no way that anybody was going to build anything taller than ten stories'. Nobody is going to walk up and down fifty flights of stairs every day just to get to work. The elevator made it possible to build much taller buildings. This has had a dramatic impact on the way that we live. Without tall buildings there wouldn't be the same number of businesses all located together in the downtown core of large cities. There would have been a serious limitation on the growth of the city.
These days elevators are used for a lot more than just tall buildings. Almost all buildings that have stairs have an elevator. This is largely because of legislation to make sure that people with disabilities can have access to public buildings. The elevator has allowed a lot of people to go places that in the past they never would have been able to go.
The elevator is a surprisingly high tech piece of engineering in which there is a remarkable amount of research being done. Things like elevators that don't require a machine room are important technological leaps since they will significantly reduce the amount of space that an elevator requires. Perhaps the most important leap in technology is destination control. This allows people traveling to the same floor to ride on the same car so as to minimize stops. Making this work is actually remarkably complicated and research is continuing to be done but making it work will make the elevator a much more efficient means of getting around.