Elevators have enabled us to build upward thousands of feet, revolutionizing floor plans and habitable spaces. In this lesson, learn about the invention of the elevator, the nuts and bolts of the design, and different elevator types.
Elevators: How Do They Work?
If you’re like me, you’ve always thought of elevators as being slightly magical, but also terrifying. Believe it or not, elevators are actually one of the safest forms of travel, and only one death by a falling elevator has been officially recorded. Today, elevators are a part of daily life, and many of us use them to get to our work, our living area, or shopping centers. Prototypes of elevators have been around for thousands of years. Below, we will review a bit about the most basic and early types of elevators before delving into the engineering marvels we recognize today.
At its most basic level, an elevator relies on counterweights to defy gravity, achieving direct vertical lift. The earliest elevators used pulleys and either human or animal power to achieve vertical lift. One slip of a faulty rope, however, could send you plunging to your death.
Therefore, early elevator-like pulley systems were mostly used for lifting building materials. The same basic pulley system elevators were used throughout most of history. In one case, King Louis XV built a human-powered lift in 1743, known as the ”Flying Chair’ so that he could visit his mistresses on another floor of the Chateau de Versailles.
Invention of the Modern Elevator
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