Locating the Ground Floor: The History of the Elevator

Building Elevators in Sydney

Building Elevators in SydneyAn elevator, according to its definition, is a platform that transports people by raising and lowering them throughout several floors or levels. The elevator system has grown to be instrumental to everyday use, from skyscraper buildings to tourist attractions and construction sites.

Primitive civilisations have been using elevators as early as the 3rd century BC through various means such as manual labour. This can involve man, animal, water and wheel power. Electra Lift, a lift company based in Sydney, sheds light on elevators and its modernisation. As the main artery of a building, a modernised elevator showcases the following qualities:

  • Its performance relies on consistent floor levels regardless of load.
  • The lift and foyer’s aesthetics can reflect the building’s character through specialised refurbishments.
  • It follows specific regulations such as Braille buttons, height regulations and PWD accessibility.
  • It can feature power-reductive upgrades to save on usage and electricity or carbon taxation costs.

Throughout the years, engineers and designers have made improvements to elevator systems, but before the enclosure of the modern elevator came to rise, it stood waiting — located on the ground floor.

A Brief History of the Elevator

In 1743, King Luis XV used a personal elevator in his Versailles apartment to easily access Madame de Chateauroux’s quarters. It was a counter-weighted, man-powered elevator connecting two floors. Fast-forward to the nineteenth century, and elevators were now steam-operated, conveying factory materials in mines and warehouses.

In 1823, Burton and Hormer architected the construction of the ‘ascending room’ — a crude elevator lifting tourists and granting them a panoramic view of London. A decade later in 1835, Frost and Stutt built the ‘Teagle’ — a belt- and steam-driven, counter-weighted lift developed in England. And by 1846, Sir William Armstrong introduced the hydraulic crane, an elevator operated by oil or water-pressured pumps.

It was Elisha Otis, an American inventor, who patented a steam elevator with safety devices mitigating the risk of falling upon a cable breaking in 1852 — this paved the way for people to be more confident in taking them, and soon enough, the first electric elevator by Werner von Siemens came into the scene by 1880.