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

The Beauty of Home Elevators

If you are in the vertical transportation industry or are simply an enthusiast, and have been to YouTube recently, you have no doubt seen the thousands of elevators being filmed. The elevator filming community is very active and continues to grow.
On other social media sites you can find dozens of photos of the elevators they are riding as well.

One elevator type you won’t find many videos or pictures of however, is home or residential elevators… and for good reason – they’re “private” installations. If you rang my doorbell with a camcorder in your hand asking to film my elevator (assume for a moment I own one in my home), I don’t think I would let you in. OK I personally would because I like elevators too, but you get my point: most homeowners would not.

Anyway, that’s where Elevator World’s Photo Contest comes in! Many companies have submitted some amazing photos of these rarely seen elevators in the three years since we started the contest. More often times than not, they are highly customized installations that must cater to the needs and wants of the home owner. This isn’t as difficult when it’s a new construction home, but that is not always the case. Some things that must be considered when installing in existing homes include: to install on the outside or inside; how to work around the existing stair case; maintaining the character of the home (there have been several installed in historical homes) and obviously the overall aesthetics of the new installation. No pressure, right?

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