Don Gelestino, president of Champion Elevator in NYC and good friend of ELEVATOR WORLD, recently shared on his LinkedIn page a link to a blog posted by Avire on its website that we found fascinating, and a great read for anyone sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: “The History of Elevators: Where Did it All Begin?” If you said it started with Elisha Graves Otis in the 1850s, you’d be wrong. Turns out, you’d have to go back about two millenia to possibly find the answer: Tradition has it that Archimedes, the renowned ancient Greecian scientist, invented the elevator in 236 BCE. We say “possibly,” because the ancient Egyptians are believed to have used a hoisting device, powered by animals or good-old human elbow grease, to build the pyramids more than 2,000 years before the birth of Archimedes.
Granted, we’ll probably never know who first used an elevator-like contraption, but the Avire blog does take us through the device’s documented history, noting that they were used in the Roman Colosseum (built between 70 and 80 CE), and were popular among 18th-century monarchs. Finally, the Avire post takes us through a timeline of post-Otis improvements. It even hints at what the next big thing may very well be.