Smithsonian.com Explores the “Strange World That is the Escalator”

Detail from Jesse Reno’s 1902 patent for the “Inclined Elevator”; U.S. Patent 708,663 via Smithsonian.com

Smithsonian.com recently explored the “strange world that is the escalator” in “How the Escalator Forever Changed Our Sense of Space.” The piece takes readers through the early history of the invention, from a never-realized 1859 patent for “revolving stairs,” to Jesse Reno’s mechanical escalator that debuted to awestruck crowds in Coney Island, New York, to the piece of machinery most similar to the escalator of today — conceived by Charles Seeberger around the same time as Reno’s invention and acquired and marketed by Otis. The escalator stole the spotlight at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and quickly proved transformative to retail, the workplace and public transportation.

Of the Paris Expo, Smithsonian observed:

“Organizers and government officials were concerned how this exposition would make its mark — after the introduction of the Eiffel Tower at the fair in 1889, how could the [fair] 11 years later complete? Officials entertained many bizarre proposals, many of which involved alterations of the Eiffel Tower itself including the potential additions of clocks, sphinxes, terrestrial globes, and a 450-ft. statue of a woman with eyes made from powerful searchlights to scan the 562-acre fairgrounds.” It ended up, however, that the escalator “shone brightest” at the expo, winning Grand Prize and a Gold Metal for its “unique and functional design”

Otis trademarked the name “escalator,” but, like cellophane, kitty litter and aspirin, the term became so ubiquitous that competitor Haughton — since acquired by Schindler — successfully petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark. Today, Otis and Schindler continue to be major players in a world in which the number of escalators doubles every 10 years.

thyssenkrupp escalator installation in Germany; photo courtesy of thyssenkrupp

NEII Graphic Tells the Story of an Unsung Hero: Codes

The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) recently released its latest infograpic that tells the story of how proper building codes and standards not only help keep us safe, but enable innovation in new and modernized buildings. According to NEII, codes are, in some ways, the unsung heroes and advocates of modern, urban environments. The graphic also shares some of the history and process of code development. Check it out below!

LIFTEX 2019: Expect More This Year

More than 120 international exhibitors are expected at this year’s LIFTEX.

More exhibitors from more countries and more free seminars than ever before await those who attend LIFTEX 2019, organized by the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) at ExCeL London on May 15-16. There will be 120 U.K. and international exhibitors, including 30 attending for the first time. Exhibitors hail from 18 different countries — more international exhibitors than ever. “If your work involves sourcing, specifying and managing the provision of moving equipment, then you can’t afford to miss LIFTEX,” according to LEIA. Allowing attendees to discover the latest products and services, the tradeshow brings together all the best innovations and latest developments across the industry.

Liftex is known as the place to do business and network as the key international destination for manufacturers, suppliers, installers and specifiers of life and elevator products and services

The event boasts thousands of innovative products on show, some of which have never been seen before at a U.K. event, including car and landing doors, compact gearless machines, alarm systems, passenger lifts, home lifts, good lifts and stairlifts.

Access an in-depth preview of LIFTEX 2019 here. Hope to see you there!