Elevating Spaces: The Technology and Design Behind Modern Elevators

Elevating Spaces: The Technology and Design Behind Modern Elevators

Do you also enjoy occasional tea while admiring the view from your high-rise apartment? Most people these days prefer buying an apartment on the higher floor so they can spend some quality time and experience the serenity and beauty of the surroundings. Now, would you still consider buying a high-rise apartment if its architect forgot to construct an elevator? Humans and elevators go way back, even before the term elevator was invented. Elevators have been a part of human history as far back as the pyramids of ancient Egypt; in fact, one of the oldest elevators is known to have been used for building the Khufu Pyramid where the laborers used simple pulleys made of ropes and shaft to lift the heavy stones to the upper level of the pyramid. Millennia after that the Greek inventor Archimedes invented an elevator that worked on a pulley and winch system. He found that wrapping a rope around its wheel with weights on the end allowed the heavy materials to be elevated without difficulty; these devices needed humans or animals to work the wheel at the top. The most complex elevator was the one used at Roman Colosseum in the 1st century BC, where 24 cages were run by 224 slaves who ran winches in 8 man teams. The winch was connected to a complex system of ropes and pulleys that were capable of carrying all 24 cages in the arena in a matter of mere seconds. Most of these pulleys were meant to carry goods only; as there was no safety mechanism. In 1793, the Russian inventor Ivan Kulehmin built the first screwdriver elevator and was installed at the Russian Winter Palace. In this kind of elevator, the cart moves up and down by following a track on the twisting screw-like main support shaft. The use of ropes and pulleys for lifting goods and materials persisted until 1852 when Elisha G. Otis invented the elevator safety brakes, which he demonstrated at the New York World?s Fair. The invention enabled people to use elevators not only for carrying objects but also for themselves. It also paved way for more modern-changes in the elevators, such as the electric elevator built by the German inventor Wener Vonn Siemens in 1880. Then came the concept of electric elevators with automatic doors in 1887 which made elevators safer. With the success of safe passenger elevators, architects and builders started constructing taller buildings. The invention of elevator safety also led to the evolution of taller and taller buildings which eventually developed into today?s megatall buildings. The emergence of megatall buildings has created new challenges in areas of technology and passenger experience and the aim of vertical transportation in megatall buildings should be to provide a safe, efficient and convenient passenger experience.

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