A screen grab of a DieselDucy video showing a manually operated Otis elevator.
Just about anyone with an Internet-connected device has at one time or another watched a video on YouTube, the Google-owned service that allows users to post short films featuring everything from cats to catastrophes. Some of the content is truly interesting and informative, some of it is a way to kill time, and some of it is just junk — not worth the smartphone on which it was shot. Some of the videos, however, can be real gems, and writer Justin Peters at Slate found a few that a lot of us can relate to: what he calls “YouTube’s vast subculture of elevator connoisseurs.”
Peters, writing for the Slate feature “Watching YouTube,” discovered several fascinating posts where folks who love elevators have shared their passions. One, entitled “Schindler 300A Hydraulic Elevator – Barnes & Noble – Foothills Mall, Tucson, Arizona,” takes viewers on a ride/tour of a two-stop lift inside a retail store. In another, presenter Andrew Reams (a.k.a. DieselDucy) posted a before and after look at a modernized freight elevator at North Carolina State University. Reams, who has been filming elevators for decades, wasn’t too happy with the upgrade.
“Modernized. Yuck,” he says. “If this were a new install, I would like this, but I do not like what it replaced.”
Some of the videos Peters linked to have salty language, and one makes totally unjustified criticism (without explanation) of a certain type of elevator, but if vertical transportation is what gets you out of bed every day, YouTube has an elevator video for you.
Construction of the 1,079-ft.-tall, 80-story 3 World Trade Center (WTC) in Lower Manhattan, New York, is nearly complete. The Real Deal reported that, arguably, the most impressive part so far are the views from the building, noting: “A person standing on the 76th-floor terrace of 3 WTC can see four states, at least three bridges and Larry Silverstein’s new apartment at 30 Park Place.” This video features Jeremy Moss of developer Silverstein Properties talking about the four-and-a-half-year story of this unique building and pointing out a few of its unique features — a couple of which involve its approximately 50 elevators.
At an undisclosed location in London, a KONE escalator now is tweeting the details of its working day and conditions. “Escalators are the unsung heroes of cities. They move millions of people a day and, of course, they need to perform safely and smoothly,” said Max Alfthan, executive vice president, marketing and communications at KONE.
Social media is a powerful tool that serves many in different ways. It can empower the powerless; it can spread information at a “viral” pace; and, as everyone should know by now, affords public officials the opportunity to get their messages out directly to their constituents (for better or worse) without the filter of the professional news media. It in essence gives a voice to the voiceless. To that end, KONE has developed a social media presence for its vertical-transportation (VT) equipment. Specifically, The Dispatch-Argus reports, the VT giant has given one of its escalators a Twitter account, all part of its 24/7 Connected Services. The escalator — “At an undisclosed location in London,” the source notes — offers real-time updates of its performance through the handle @JustAnEscalator. A virtual reality and 360-degree video enhance the program. Are you wondering what an escalator has to tweet about? The recent screen grab at right gives a sample, plus, maybe, an idea of the technology’s potential. Like, say, alerting commuters when specific escalators are out of service or back in operation. That might be worth a tweet.