Escalators as Security Scanners

You’re riding up to the concourse anyway — why not let the escalator take some of the trouble out of flying?

For anyone who’s ever been annoyed or bewildered by the security-check process at airports — a demographic that includes virtually everyone who flies — inventors Charles Bombardier and Ashish Thulkar have a solution that will guide travelers through the process quickly, easily and without a second thought. They call it the Aerochk, a security scanning system mounted on an escalator that checks person, passport and carry-on simultaneously.

Passport, person and luggage enter the scanners simultaneously, keeping all three tagged together in the system.

The system, featured in online magazine Yanko Design, allows travelers to ride up to the gate concourse next to their luggage and passports, which ride on separate conveyors. All reach the top at the same time, squared away and ready to board. Now, if these guys would only turn their attention to the Department of Motor Vehicles and supermarket checkouts …

When travelers reach the top, it’s simply a matter or picking up their passports, grabbing their bags and heading to the gate.

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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