Cat Caper in the Underground

A red circle highlights the tiny kittens after they were discovered underneath an escalator unit at London’s Moorgate station; photo from the Daily Mail.

A lost mother cat found a hideaway she thought would be a safe place to give birth but, according to the Daily Mail, workers at a London underground station who found the mom and her new litter had to act fast to get them out of harm’s way. It seems mama made her “birthing suite” underneath a new escalator unit that was only hours away from a test run.

Mother and kittens, reunited; image courtesy of RSPCA via the Daily Mail

The unit is in the Moorgate station, one of London’s busiest tube stations, which has been undergoing a renovation and expansion to service the Crossrail Elizabeth Line. The workers got in touch with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and animal welfare officer Siobhan Trinnaman responded to the scene. When she arrived, she found the four kittens in the escalator pit, but the mom was nowhere to be seen. “It’s very dangerous for cats, as it’s where the mechanism is to run the escalator,” said Trinnaman. With the escalator test scheduled for 6 p.m. that evening, Trinnaman had to act fast.

“They (the workers) were very concerned that if [the cats] remained there and the escalator was running, they would be injured or killed,” said Trinnaman. “I found the four tiny kittens and moved them to safety before setting a trap for the mum.” After a few hours, the mother was captured and reunited with her babies at the RSPCA’s local facility. The kittens, one girl and three boys, have been named after Tube stations. They are called Bow, Colin, Dale and Earl, after Bow Road, Collindale and Earl’s Court. The staff called the mom “Elizabeth,” after the Elizabeth line. They are trying to locate the owner, because the cat was wearing a collar, though she had no microchip.

Watch a video of the feline foundlings, courtesy of the Daily Mail.

Test Tower of Light

A ceremonial throwing of the switch cast the 246-m thyssenkrupp test tower in Rottweil, Germany, within the glow of 44 spotlights at sunset on Valentine’s Day.

Love was literally in the air in Rottweil, Germany, on Valentine’s Day, when the first couple to be wed inside the thyssenkrupp Elevator test tower was invited back to turn on the 246-m-tall structure’s architectural lighting system. On February 14, at sunset local time — 5:44 p.m. — the couple, married last year at the 220-m point inside the test tower, threw the switch that instantly bathed the landmark structure in the warm glow of 44 spotlights, allowing architects Werner Sobek and Helmut Jahn to realize their vision of a “Tower of Light.”

The tower has become a popular attraction in Rottweil, the oldest city in Germany’s Baden-Wuerttemberg state. Residents and shop owners were invited to put lights in their windows in return so that a veritable “dialogue of lights,” a representation of the relationship between the town and the test tower, could commence.

“The nighttime lighting has been an integral part of my design concept from the very beginning,” said Sobek. “The lighting had to be just as tender and virtually ‘immaterial’ as the tower’s fabric shell itself: elegant, unobtrusive, light as a feather — and by no means colorful or garish.”

More than a quarter of a million visitors have been awed by the view from the tower’s observation deck, the highest in Germany, since construction was completed in 2017. thyssenkrupp uses the one-of-a-kind facility to test MULTI, the world’s first ropeless elevator for high-rise buildings, as well as conventional high-speed elevators.

The tower lights will be switched on every evening, except during various weeks each year when bird migrations are taking place.

A Visit to the Elevator Museum in Massachusetts

Text and Photos by Caleb Givens

The International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 4 Union Hall is tucked behind a few industrial facilities in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Housed in this building, in a large, open conference room, is the Elevator Museum. It is the shining physical presence of the Elevator Historical Society’s efforts to preserve the history of the elevator and escalator industry.

Your author visited Steve Comley, who is truly taking the museum from good to great. Comley is a longtime elevator man, getting his taste of the industry at an early age, thanks to his father, James, who purchased Embree and White Elevator in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1972. “I loved the dirty old elevator machine shop,” recalls Comley. “It was fascinating to me as a kid — the noise from the flat-belt pulleys running across the ceiling, the smell of the cutting oils on the machines and the smoke from the welding. They used to cast and completely build elevator machines there.”

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