Elevator Thriller Gets Stephen King Stamp of Approval

Elevator Pitch is a new novel that “does for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the beach,” according to author Linwood Barclay’s website. These do not seem to be empty words from someone with a vested interest, considering renowned writer Stephen King urged people to “read Elevator Pitch as soon as possible,” calling it “one hell of a suspenseful novel.”

The publication Facilitiesnet observes the thriller uses elevator accidents as a “terrifying” plot device as an unknown killer terrorizes Manhattan by using elevators to murder people, leaving the mayor to decide whether to shut all 70,000 of the city’s commercial elevators down. We here in the “elevator world” know that elevators are among the safest methods of travel, but still, the book looks fun and received positive reviews. If you happen to read it, let us know what you think!

Video Salutes Prague’s Beloved Paternosters

Named from the Latin words for Our Father because of their resemblance to rosary beads as their cabins run in a continuous loop along parallel shafts, Paternosters originated in 19th-century England and became common across Europe. As technology advanced and safety and accessibility concerns arose, production stopped in the 1970s. Most remaining examples are in Europe, with Germany, by far, having the most at approximately 230 and the Czech Republic following with nearly 80, according to Wikipedia. Prague, the Czech capital, is the “undisputed last bastion of the Paternoster” with 28 working conveyances, RadioFreeEurope journalist Neil Bowdler explains in a video in which he takes — with some trepidation — his first-ever Paternoster ride in a system installed at public radio Cesky Rozhla’s headquarters in 1929. Bowler interviews Cesky Rozhla employee and Pasternoster enthusiast David Kabele, who points out that for Czechs, the conveyances symbolize continuity and survival, as many — such as the one featured here — survived both World War II bombings in the 1940s and the Soviet Invasion in 1968. Communism resulted in little money for modernization projects to replace Pasternosters with elevators, and Kabele (who runs a website devoted to them) couldn’t be happier. Check out the video below!

Otis Elevators in Empire State Building Get Their Due in New Exhibit

On July 29, visitors to the world-famous Empire State Building in NYC have the opportunity to embark on a “journey from the building’s construction to its place in pop culture today.” For elevator (and history, design and technology) enthusiasts, that journey includes a brand-new Otis display, which Otis states “showcases our rich history with this iconic building, as well as our latest technology that transports more than 10 million people each year . . . .” A few years ago, Otis won a hotly competitive contract to modernize the 68-elevator system, a job that included restoration of the Art Deco elevator lobby. At the time, it was the biggest elevator modernization in Otis’ 158-year history. Available with the purchase of a ticket to the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observatory, the Otis elevator display allows guests to walk through a simulation of an elevator shaft. The display showcases not only how the original elevators operated, but the new technology installed. The new 2nd Floor Exhibits also include vivid, action-packed looks at the site in the 1920s, construction of the buildings, major tenant spaces, most famous celebrity visitors (with signed memorabilia) and, of course, King Kong!! If you’re in NYC, be sure to check it out.

A virtual elevator shaft can be experienced as part of Otis’ new display in the 2nd Floor Exhibits at the Empire State Building in NYC; image courtesy of Empire Realty Trust.
Otis’ new display in the Empire State Building’s 2nd Floor Exhibits offer a trip through time and an in-depth look at the landmark’s elevator system; image courtesy of Empire Realty Trust.