Out with the Old lift, In with the New!


We all know what lifts do but how many of us appreciate the progression in terms of how the lift creation has evolved over many years.
Here is all you need to know about how the lift has developed and modernised into the great invention it is today.

History of lifts

old lift design

Konrad Kyeser’s lift design in 1405

It is reported that the first ever lift was created in 236 BC by a Greek mathematician, astronomer, engineer, physicist and inventor name Archimedes. Back in this century, lifts were named ‘hoists’ as they were commonly generated using a hemp rope (pulleys or winches) that would be hoisted from a human hand or animals.
In the 17th century, it was known that prototypes of lifts appeared in palaces located in England and France. In this generation, owning a lift showed how wealthy someone was back then and essentially would be or be related to royalty. But nowadays, we take lifts for granted and the appreciation of their existence is completely transparent.
Paternoster lifts were also known in this generation which consists of a chain of open cars (lift compartments) that move slowly in a continuous loop that never stops. However, these sort of lift constructions were abolished in the 1970s due to safety concerns and the rise in people being injured and losing limbs were increasing. Although, some paternoster lifts are still available to us within Europe, Germany being the main country with around 230 examples of these lifts still existing.

paternoster lift diagram

By the 19th century, hydraulic lifts were established within mines/factories, and operated by steam power. They were seen to change the normal ‘hoists’ from their steam powered service to the hydraulic generated supply. Originally, hydraulic lifts were powered using water pressure but nowadays are seen to be generated using oil.
1852 saw the birth of the Otis Elevator Factory (founded in New York), the company have been the revolution within the elevator sector and have seen that the introductory of hydraulic and electric lifts to be the improvement of the industry.
In the 1880s, the first electric lift had evolved and was first installed commercially by 1889. Whilst 1887 saw the creation of automatic doors on a lift which evidently made them safer to use.
By the 20th century, majority of lifts were automated but surprisingly, some passengers were adamant for not using them in fear of being trapped. The 1940s saw the introduction of the emergency stop button, emergency phone and an explanatory automated voice which was supposed to help calm passengers in the event of operation strike.

Revolution of Modernised Lifts

According to research, lifts are in fact safer to use to than it is travelling in a car.

Modernised lifts today

In today’s day and age, modernised commercial buildings are thriving with multiple lifts with a consolidated operations system. The majority of these lifts encompass extraordinary revoked controls which allow a passenger to travel to a certain level within the building without stopping at other floor destinations, otherwise known as express lifts.
The modernised lifts we have today are visually a lot more stylish involving mirrored walls and glass window panes. Other features such as music (also known as lift music) act as a calming technique to make the passengers journey all that more pleasurable. Whilst added features such as security cameras are there to make us feel safe.