Tallest Ride

The new escalator; image from Reddit via City Pages

Every human endeavor has its superlatives: the best, the fastest, the strongest. Whether we’re talking about athletic competition, academic achievement or technological advancement, somebody always seeks to hold up an accomplishment as an aspirational example. This is no less true of the vertical-transportation industry. To wit: The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport recently completed work on what it says is the new tallest escalator in Minnesota. City Pages notes that it was built over the summer of 2020, along with a new parking ramp at the airport’s Terminal 1. Some facts:

Length: 118 ft

Height: 55 ft, 2 in, or about five stories

Speed: 100 ft/min

Capacity: 9,000 passengers/h

Travel time: 75 s

The airport says its new escalator surpasses the state’s previous record holder, the 47-ft-tall moving stairs at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. While the new parking ramp and escalator were not immediately needed, thanks to the pandemic-related travel slowdown, this new machine stands ready for large crowds as passenger traffic rebounds.

You can watch a video of the installation and use below:

An Award-Winning Hobby Project

The Campbell River Mirror recently reported on a real winner. 77-year-old Bob Higgins built an elevator in his home a several years ago over the course of six months. Higgins, a retired machinist, millwright, welder, power engineer and supervisor with more than 50 years of experience, lives in Crofton, Canada, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. This year, he brought the Metal Supermarkets Metal My Way Contest international award to his idyllic home isle.

Though he says “It’s never been used” because he and his wife “don’t need it” in their two-story home, the elevator is a well-thought-out project they may highly value someday. Higgins explained, “When we built the house, I had them build the shaft. We want to stay here till we go out feet first. If you become disabled, it’s hard to go up and down the stairs.” Higgins did all the design, engineering, welding, steel fabrication, machining, installation and wiring himself. An electrician did the final hook-up. The screw-type elevator can lift 800 lb and reaches the end of its travel in a little more than 2 min. Higgins added a provision to manually release the motor brake and crank the car by hand (for power outages), and the car includes a phone line and emergency lighting.

Check out the picture of Higgins below and more from the source. And, speaking of award-winning projects, be sure to check out EW’s Project of the Year 2021 winners in our January issue!

With the elevator on the lower floor, more of Bob Higgins’ expertise in building it can be seen. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Bob Higgins with his elevator at the bottom landing; photo by Don Bodger

Page of History

The Skyscraper Museum recently reposted one of its earliest (vintage 1997) web pages “to match our online projects produced or redesigned during the past 18 months. . . .” The website had undergone a technical change from “hard-coding” to a content management system, which accommodates the museum’s historical content in a much more manageable format. The illustrated chart above shows a timeline of “the world’s tallest building” dating from the first “skyscrapers” to today’s title-holder, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. This graphic is only the tip of the tower, though — The Skyscraper Museum’s website has plenty of other features to hold the attention of anyone who has even a passing interest in tall buildings.