“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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