“That thing” is an elevator keyhole, Slate magazine reveals

Elevator door keyholes are approximately a fourth of the size of a US quarter.

Elevator door keyholes are approximately a fourth of the size of a US quarter.

Slate magazine featured the elevator keyhole in a recent edition of its “What’s That Thing” column, which “examines mysterious or overlooked objects in our visual landscapes.” The article explains that the little round holes on some elevators’ lobby doors can be used to open the doors, even if an elevator isn’t there, for maintenance, inspection or to rescue people stuck between floors. The keys are typically kept in a lockbox on the property, and accessible only to property managers and authorized personnel. Not all elevators have keys and keyholes, since some jurisdictions believe they are a safety risk since they make it relatively easy to open doors onto the shaft. Read the slate piece here.

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IEE Expo 2014

Elevator World is exhibiting at the International Elevator Escalator Expo taking place in Mumbai, India (March 20-22).  Our Vice President, T. Bruce MacKinnon, tweeted the following photo from the opening ceremonies.  The organizers of this event, Virgo Communications & Exhibitions, are our partners in publishing ELEVATOR WORLD India magazine.  A new and improved website for the magazine will be launched soon!

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Photo of the Week

I stumbled upon this photo recently on a blog I visited.  The photo was taken in Nürnberg, Germany and the author writes the following:

I was staying at a small and inexpensive hotel near the city center. I returned last night around 11pm. I was really tired from the long day, and with a heavy notebook back with me. I was going to enter the elevator to the upper floors, when I saw this signage on the elevator door.  So there I was standing in front of that door, about to press the button, still thinking about the consequences. Not a good sign. Can I take the risk? What would you do?

Well, what would you do?

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“Refinery chic” Lloyd’s building has some of world’s must-see elevators

The crazy-cool Lloyd's building has outside elevators, opening up space on the inside (Image courtesy of Lloyd's).

The crazy-cool Lloyd’s building has outside elevators, opening up space in the building’s interior. (Image courtesy of Lloyd’s).

CNN Travel recently released a list of “12 Elevators You Need to See to Believe.” It includes some amazing architecture and vertical-transportation systems, many of which have been featured in ELEVATOR WORLD. All of elevators take you high, high above the earth, some in urban and others in rural settings. Which one is your favorite? I am sure your selection reveals which “Downton Abbey” character you are or something, but I haven’t done enough research to determine that yet. For the record, mine is definitely the Lloyd’s building in London, home of the venerable insurance institution. Built in 1978-86 and designed by architect Richard Rogers, it is what I would call “refinery chic,” evoking elements of the future as envisioned in the past, ominous and welcoming at the same time. At night, it can be lit up like a late-1980s New York disco. The first of their kind in the U.K., the 12 glass elevators on the outside of the building look like they’re for carrying paint or livestock rather than passengers, and offer stunning vistas of downtown London. Yes, please! Read CNN’s list and pick your favorite here.

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Photo of the Week

Well, it seems like taking the elevator is a good idea to me.  I suppose if your the adventurous type the stairs could be fun.

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“Game of Thrones” virtual elevator experience sounds like a scary blast

A 4D virtual reality experience that takes people on what sounds like a startlingly thrilling and realistic ride in a replica of the stark, skeletal winch elevator that ascends the 700-ft-tall wall at Castle Black in the HBO show has been getting a lot of press lately as it makes the rounds as a part of the touring “Game of Thrones” exhibit, which stopped most recently at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.

Featuring authentic costumes and memorabilia from the American fantasy-drama, the exhibition was very popular in 2013, but HBO wanted to make it even more so, so they challenged experiential marketing firm, Relevent, to come up with something remarkable. It appears the company has done so with “Ascend the Wall.” Seeing people’s reactions as they ride it, such as in this short video which may be viewed on the Forbes website, clearly suggests that it is scarily convincing. Relevent worked with image developer Framestore to create the photo-real experience that “uses Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headsets, the Unity game engine, Oscar-winning VFX piplines, wind machines, real elevators and rumble packs to take the user into the world of ‘Game of Thrones,’ ”

4D elements added by Relevent include high-powered fans to create a whipping wind as the cage scales the wall, a rumble deck under the elevator to simulate creaky movement as it climbs and C02 jets that blast subzero air as one “steps” out onto the promontories. The exhibit has succeeded in generating buzz for the show as it gears up for Season 4 in April.

For upcoming tour dates and cities, visit the HBO website.

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Cast member Kristian Nairn scales the virtual wall.

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Photo of the Week

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No wonder everyone is taking the stairs!  This terrifying National Geographic advertisement of a crocodile appears at the foot of an escalator in Brazil.  The campaign is for a program called ‘Mundo Salvagem de Richard Rasmussen’ and featuring a tagline that translates as ‘Ready for an adventure through the Brazilian forests?’.

The veritable optical illusion consists of a 3D drawing of a crocodile jumping out of water at the bottom of the escalator, creating an unnerving situation for those about to disembark.

 

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To be young, beautiful and worth US$43 million

The Barbados-born pop-music star Rihanna recently posted a “selfie” to her Instagram in which she is striking an alluring pose in an elevator in an unknown location, all dressed up (or down) in some of the latest haute couture. MTV deemed the photo “buzzworthy,” and posted it to their Buzzworthy website, noting how Rihanna’s “I’m so relaxed and sexy” demeanor is the polar opposite of most people’s stiff, uncomfortable elevator attitudes — typically involving silence and staring at the wall. According to Forbes, Rihanna, 26, has an estimated net worth of US$43 million, which would definitely cause most people to convey an air of relaxation, if not sexiness.

Rihanna

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MARTA Official Reveals Neat Facts About System’s Elevators, Escalators

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Bill Thomas of the Metropolitan Atlanta Transit Authority (MARTA) was among those who braved ice and snow to attend the Annual General Membership meeting of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) February 10-12 at the Hilton Garden Inn Airport North in Atlanta. During a roundtable discussion on Day Two, Thomas spoke about progress that has been made to revitalize MARTA, which has a reputation for broken-down elevators often used as urinals. Recently, such incidents came to a virtual halt, he said, after MARTA installed a urine-detection system. In addition, many of the units are in the process of being replaced or upgraded. The system has 111 elevators and 149 escalators, and approximately 420,400 passengers use the system daily. New MARTA CEO Keith Parker remains focused, Thomas said, on turning the system around, and elevators and escalators are an integral part of that. Remarkably, he said, the most frequent reason elevator passengers call for help is not due to malfunction at all, but rather their failing to press a button to activate the elevator and believing they are stuck. New signage should alleviate that situation, and MARTA also plans to look into integrating some EESF safety signage into the system.

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Elevator Companies Help Grant Teens Wish

Access Solutions and Waupaca Elevators recently teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant a disabled teens wish.  Tommy is an 18-year old battling CNS Vasculitis– a life-threatening condition of the central nervous system– that causes him to rely on a wheelchair for mobility.  The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions, contacted Tommy about his one special wish.  What is the one thing he asked for? An elevator to carry him to the basement where he could enjoy his train sets.  This was the first time that Make-A-Wish had helped install an elevator in a home.  Kudos to these elevator companies for being a part of this project.

 

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