ECNY Supplier Showcase Fun: Hand-Rolled Cigars and Some Very Happy Suppliers

Your author just got back from yet-another wonderful edition of the Elevator Conference of New York’s (ECNY) Supplier Showcase at the lovely Villa Barone Manor in the Bronx. Bobby “Bobby Dee” Defrancesco of Benfield Electric Supply conceived the showcase several decades ago and it’s been going strong, and getting stronger, ever since. There are well over 100 suppliers, thousands of attendees and a significant waiting list of suppliers — not only US-based, but from all over the world.

Silvain Mongrain of Mongrain Vertical Transport always hands out hand-rolled cigars at the showcase, but this year (as he has done on occasion) he offered something very special: cigars being rolled live in person by a professional. Everyone was in high spirits throughout the event, as evidenced by the below picture of the Peelle team.

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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