A 1912 gold birdcage Otis elevator in a five-story office building in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been operated for the past 12 years by 60-year-old Gary Wallace, office manager. The elevator, built the same year as the office building, has become an attraction in itself, The Gazette reports. Wallace, who says the unit “always passes its inspections with flying colors,” loves his “elevator jockey” job, perhaps as much — if not more — than his regular one cutting hair. Over the years, Wallace has acquired the skills to deliver a smooth, quiet ride to visitors as they make their 13-second trip up or down. He calls the elevator his “baby,” and himself, “the last of a dying breed.”
Or is he? Among the interesting trends borne of the coronavirus pandemic is the return of the elevator operator. Your author has seen numerous reports of property managers bringing in elevator operators to help keep people safer. Just this week, Los Angeles-based attorney Guy Gruppie told her he was at a business meeting that day and, “for the rest of the COVID crisis, they are using an elevator operator to make sure only he touches the buttons and that the occupants stand on X’s in the car, six feet apart.” So, is Wallace the last of a dying breed? Maybe not.
Be sure to check out The Gazette’s picture gallery of the elevator and a video of Wallace operating it.
In a LinkedIn post titled “Animating ropes is way harder than it looks,” Ron Acord, a 3D artist/photographer/videographer for thyssenkrupp Elevator, shared a video clip of ropes in operation. Despite its brevity, the animation clearly shows how such a system works. Acord also captured some lovely images when thyssenkrupp Elevator completed the concrete core of its test tower near Atlanta. Upon completion, it will be the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere at 420 ft. A couple of Acord’s test-tower photos are seen below.
When we first heard about hotels testing delivery robots that could ride elevators on their own, our first thought was that it was highly weird and disconcerting. That was before COVID-19. Now, these robots are delivering meals and speaking to those in Chinese quarantine hotels in “eerie, childlike voices,” The Japan Times is among news outlets to report. Still highly weird and disconcerting, the elevator-riding robots have seemingly found their purpose as part of a system that involves “ghostly figures in hazmat suits and cameras pointed at front doors” that Chinese authorities have put in place at hotels where people are isolated after arriving from overseas or from one of the coronavirus hotspots. The source describes the setup as “China’s sci-fi quarantine watch.” It brings to mind stories like Margaret Atwood’s fascinating Handmaid’s Tale (the book is better than the TV show) and the highly underrated movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell, in which the actor Kevin Spacey portrays the only “virtual friend” of a man mining alone on the moon. I highly recommend you check the movie out.