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

Celebrating a Milestone

With the hashtag #TBT (throwback Thursday), the University of North Carolina Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture posted on Instagram this photo of Gray, left, with now-retired architecture professor John Nelson, in the Arts Quad in 1999.
Gray

The University of North Carolina Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture has joined ELEVATOR WORLD in celebrating a milestone for Dr. Lee Gray — the publication of his 200th EW article, “The First Elevator in the Texas State Capitol, Part One,” which appears in this month’s issue. Gray, a professor of Architectural History and senior associate dean, joined the faculty at UNCC in 1992 and, according to an April 2 post on the Arts + Architecture Instagram page, “decided it was time to write a book. Asking himself, ‘What’s going to be the most fun?’ he landed on his topic: elevators.” It was in 2003 that he became an EW correspondent, penning monthly history columns (with occasional other pieces), and, according to the post, has since become the “ONLY fulltime elevator historian in the WORLD.” As such, he is the go-to answer man — if the question is “elevators” — for numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The History Channel, National Geographic and PBS, to name a few. In a reply to the post, EW’s Instagram congratulated Gray, adding, “Our magazine wouldn’t be the same without his contributions. We look forward to his Escalator History book in 2021!” Faithful EW readers don’t have to wait that long for more from Gray, however — he’ll have another article in May’s issue, and for June he will be the subject of our popular “10 Questions” feature.