An Endangered and Unique Form of Vertical Transportation

Wikipedia defines the paternoster lift as a passenger elevator that consists of a chain of open compartments (each usually designed for two persons) that move slowly in a loop up and down inside a building without stopping. Passengers can step on or off at any floor they choose.

The first paternoster was built in 1884 and was more common throughout Europe.  However, in many countries the construction of new paternosters is no longer allowed because of the high danger of accidents (people tripping or falling over when trying to enter or exit).  A few companies have added computer-controlled cars and normal elevator doors to alleviate some safety concerns.  Although there are still numerous units spread throughout Europe, the paternoster has certainly been put on the endangered list.

This video demonstrates a fully operational unit, built in 1913, and located in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Share your videos and photos of paternosters in your area or travels and we will post them on this blog!

Video uploaded to YouTube by Heritage Elevators.


Escalator Riders Treated to Art Display at Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Convention Center art

Escalator riders at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., get to gaze upon the unique hanging sculptures of Donald Lipski. Part of the center’s US$4 million art collection, the mobiles create striking shapes out of everyday items such as barstools, bicycles, kayaks and tennis racquets. ELEVATOR WORLD visited the center recently for an interview with ThyssenKrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck, and came away very impressed by both the venue’s sleek, airy design by Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates of Atlanta, as well as the artwork. The escalators seen in this photo are by Fujitec America.


America’s Coolest Hotel Elevators



This article proves that riding an elevator can offer more than just awkward silence. The article focuses on six hotels that offer unique elevator-riding experiences. The hotels and their elevators are described below.  Can you think of others that should be included on this list?   Summer vacations are just around the corner! If you come across a fun or interesting elevator during your travels send me your videos or photos and we will post them on this blog.  Of course we will give you full credit and shoot you to elevator stardom.

Legoland Hotel
The elevator at this Legoland theme park hotel in Carlsbad, California, only rises three floors, but it’s an action-packed trio. The Disco Elevator has walls emblazoned with Lego people, a disco ball hanging from the ceiling, and flashing lights and different tunes playing (say, ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”) every time you ride. The elevator lobby, meanwhile, is equipped with a whoopee cushion spot on the floor to entertain you while you wait for the doors to open.  This fun elevator has been featured on our blog before.  In case you missed it, you can view the post here, including a fun YouTube video of the elevator ride.

Westin St. Francis Hotel
This grande-dame San Francisco hotel has five exterior elevators on its 32-floor Tower wing, which travel at a brisk 1,000 feet per minute. From any of them you’ll get huge views of Union Square and the rest of the city.

Atlanta Marriott Marquis
The elevator that climbs to the top of this 50-story Atlanta hotel looks out over the atrium and offers an up-close view of the ceiling’s 50-foot, color-changing canopy sail. The hotel also has indoor and outdoor pools, and is just blocks from both the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park.

Luxor Las Vegas 
Not many people take the kids to Vegas for a lesson in geometry, but the elevator at this hotel on the Strip does provide a teachable moment: since you’re riding along one edge of the pyramid-shaped building, the so-dubbed Inclinator travels at a precise 39-degree angle, giving you a funky view into the hotel atrium from up to 30 floors. Be sure to ride before bedtime, to see the illuminated views into the ancient-Egyptian-style lobby.

Hotel Del Coronado
For a ride into elevator history, you can’t argue with this posh San Diego beach hotel’s 126-year-old elevator, the Otis No. 61, which was here when the hotel first opened in 1888 and was one of the first electric elevators made by legendary manufacturer Otis. That’s not the only bit of history here: The Del was also the site of the Marilyn Monroe classic “Some Like It Hot,” and is known to have its own resident ghost.

The Standard High Line
The Standard boutique hotel chain has made the elevator experience an excuse to appreciate art. Since 2010, the 18-floor High Line property in New York City has been using its elevator to screen a continuous loop of videos created by artist/director Marco Brambilla. Not to be outdone, the elevator lobby at The Standard East Village is now home to the overhead “Pixel Cloud,” a bubbly installation created by Daniel Arsham.


Washington Monument Elevator: EW did not get stuck!

Your reporter recently visited Washington, D.C., and took the opportunity to ride the elevator in the Washington Monument, which reopened on May 12 after being closed for more than a year as it underwent earthquake-damage repair. The elevator, which has a capacity of 6800 lbs. and was installed in 1998, has had a rough debut since the reopening, breaking down at least four times for various reasons. In one instance, visitors took nearly 900 steps down from the observation area to the ground level. Happily, my trip was smooth, fast and problem-free. The elevator, which boasts a unique brushed-metal cab interior, whisked me and about 15 fellow visitors to the observation area in approximately 70 s. where we were treated to breathtaking views such as this one of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Potomac River.



So, What’s That Blue Asterisk On The Elevator Door?


If you have ever noticed this blue asterisk on an elevator door and wondered what the symbol meant, then today is your lucky day.  The symbol is known as the Star of Life and was originally designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and trademarked in 1977.  It’s since become the general symbol for emergency medical services. When it appears on an elevator, it generally indicates that an elevator is big enough to hold a stretcher large enough to accommodate a 24″ by 84″ stretcher.  If such elevators are not available, the patient may need to be transported downstairs on a stair chair.  The snake emblem located in the center of the star is known as the Rod of Asclepius, widely used as the symbol of medical care worldwide.  

Check out this blog by for more information or read the Wikipedia page on the Star of Life.  Now you know!


Photo of the Week



I can think of a better alternative…notify building management to call the company in charge of maintaining the elevators! If this sign is in fact legitimate, here’s the obvious:  there is something wrong with this elevator; it is very dangerous for the passenger to push and pull on the elevator doors (they are probably malfunctioning).  I think that I would have taken the stairs.


10 Best Skyscrapers Around the World (and the future?)

Judith Dupre, author of Skyscrapers: A History of the World’s Most Extraordinary Buildings, recently sat down with USA Today to share her opinion on the best skyscrapers across the globe.  From New York’s One World Trade Center to The Shard in London, there are some fabulous towers represented.  You can view the entire gallery and story by clicking here. Do you agree with her picks or are there others that you would nominate?


A building made from large shipping containers?  What if this (below) was the next generation of skyscrapers?  And, just how would vertical transportation fit in?




Elevators, celebrities and drama

Music history was born when Hall and Oates met on an elevator after fleeing a gang-fight at a Philadelphia radio station where they were both appearing.

Music history was born when Hall and Oates met on an elevator after fleeing a gang-fight at a Philadelphia radio station where they were both appearing.

In honor of the entirely overexposed and overblown story about Beyonce’s sister Solange physically attacking her brother-in-law, Jay Z, in an elevator after a party earlier this week — a scene caught on security video — the Huffington Post has compiled this list of eight other elevator incidents — celebrity and otherwise — you might not know about. They range from the truly interesting (Daryl Hall and John Oates met in an elevator while trying to escape a gang melee in Philadelphia) to the just plain gross (I will not elaborate). It has been a big month for elevators in general so far. Another incident among young, beautiful Hollywood stars drunkenly babbling amongst themselves was caught on tape and rebroadcast ad nauseam, despite its profound lack of charm. Let’s see how else elevators can make the headlines this week!


20 Mega-Tall Buildings By 2020


Discovery News recently reported interesting information from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) regarding the future of tall buildings.  According to CTBUH, in 2000, the average height of the tallest buildings was 1,230 feet. By 2010, that average rose to 1,440 feet and by 2020, the average height is expected to reach 1,962.  Thats tall!

CTBUH also predicts that within this decade, we will see a kilometer-tall building. That’s 3,280 feet!  As buildings become taller and taller, what do you think this means for vertical transportation?

You can view the 20 projected buildings by clicking here.


Photo of the Week

cabina luna in cima ai montiThis is just one of the great photo’s that was entered in the 2014 “Photos of the Elevator World” Contest.  Public voting will begin Wednesday, May 14 and end on Friday, June 6th.  Make sure that your vote counts by visiting during this time.

Photo credit:  Carlo Ferrari, Wittur Italia Holding (photo captured in the middle of the Italian Alps)