Chicago Elevator Association

Association members have reason to be long winded.

by Hanno van der Bijl

Founded in 1911, the Chicago Elevator Association (CEA) is the U.S. industry’s oldest regional association. This distinction is directly tied to the leading role the city has played in vertical transportation. Some claim the development of steel structures as a result of the Great Chicago Fire on October 8-9, 1871, had a lot to do with the rise of the elevator. In 1872, the first practical roped, indirect hydraulic elevator was designed by C.W. Baldwin in Chicago to avoid having to dig a deep hole for the jack. The first traction machine, developed either by Chicago-based companies Montgomery Elevator or Wheeler Elevator, may have been installed in the city. In 1895, Otis installed the first gearless elevator in the Masonic Temple Building, which was the tallest building and had the highest-traveling elevator in the country at the time.

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