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Tag Archives: Otis Elevator Company

Otis Elevator’s Testing Tower in Bristol, Connecticut

Otis Testing Tower

Many people have probably never heard of Bristol, Connecticut, but it is home to some of the world’s largest companies. Not only does ESPN call Bristol its hometown, the Otis Elevator company’s testing tower is also located there. So what actually goes on at the testing tower?

Otis Elevator is one of the world’s largest elevator and escalator companies. They are often at the forefront of the latest lift technology and need a place to test all of their newest ideas. That’s where the Bristol testing tower comes in. The testing tower in Bristol is 117 meters tall and allows the Otis to Elevator Testingdevelop and test all of its elevators and components. There facility has a quality control and product testing lab, along with 13 test elevator shafts.

The elevator market differs across the world. Places like Paris have smaller, more intimate elevators. While New York City has large elevators in commercial buildings for the business people. The Bristol facility has three high elevator shafts, four mid-level, and six low ones to accommodate for the differences around the world. They have the capabilities to test a range of systems that are needed for elevators, including cables, belts, and hydraulic systems. This is also where Otis tests its destination management systems, which they hope will make elevators more efficient and change the way we travel in elevators forever.

The Bristol testing center is an integral part of Otis’ success. They rigorously test all of the new systems they are going to use around the world. Check out the video below to see an inside look at the Bristol testing tower.

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Otis Rolls out New Mobile App for eService Customers

Otis Elevator App

Otis Elevator Company has launched its new mobile application that can be used by their eService customers. The app will allow Otis eService customers to gain instant access to open service calls, elevator performance data, and service call logging from a smartphone.

The app was designed for busy building owners and managers and is an extension of Otis’ Elevator Apppopular eService platform. The eService platform is an online performance based repository which allows Otis customers to place service requests, view maintenance data, receive real time updates on open service calls, and more. The app will allow Otis customers the ability to use most of these services on their smartphones or tablets.

The app will make placing service requests and checking elevator data a breeze. People are busier than ever and the app will save building owners and managers valuable time. Now it will be possible to place a service request while walking up the stairs or check performance data while you are riding the elevator.

The app is available to Apple and Android users and comes at no extra cost for eService customers.

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History of the Elevator

Early Elevator Design

The first reference to an elevator was actually in the mid-200s BC. Some of the first findings of elevators were cabs on a hemp rope that were powered by hand or by animals. We have come a long when since then. Elevators are now common and some people even have them in their homes. So how did the elevators we know today come to be?

Early Elevators

Elevators really started to take shape back in the mid-19th century. They were used in coal mines to move goods in bulk and operated with steam power. In 1823, an “ascending room” was built in London as a tourist attraction. They were able to elevate paying customers to a panoramic view of the city. 12 years later, a belt driven elevator with a counterweight called the “Teagle” was developed in England.

Elisha Otis

In 1852, Elisha Otis introduced the safety elevator. It prevented the fall of the cab if the cable broke. A governor device engages knurled rollers, locking the elevator to its guides if the elevator starts to descend at excessive speed. A very similar design is still used today. On March 23, 1857 the first Otis passenger elevator was installed at 488 Broadway in New York City. Today, the Otis Elevator Company is a part of United Technologies Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of vertical transport systems.

Advancement in the Elevator

The Equitable Life Building was completed in 1870 in New York City and was the first office building to feature passenger elevators. Ten years later in 1880, Werner von Siemens would invent the first electric elevator in Germany. The safety and speed of electric elevators would be significantly enhanced by Frank Sprague. He would add floor control, automatic elevators, acceleration control or cars, and safeties. Sprague’s electric elevator was able to run faster and with larger loads than hydraulic or steam elevators. He would later sell his elevator company to Otis in 1895.

The development of elevators was due to the need for movement of raw material like coal and lumber from hillsides. The technology that was developed from this need would provide the passenger and freight elevators that we use today.

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Elevator Museum Opening in Long Island

Elevator Museum

Retired elevator executive Patrick Carrajat is in the beginning stages of opening up an elevator museum in Long Island. The museum is meant to show people the importance of preserving elevator history and their impact on the world.

The elevator museum is located on the second floor of the Taxi Building at 21-03 44th Avenue. Carrajat has already brought in around 4,000 elevator-centric items for the public to view. Some of the things you can find at the elevator museum are;Elevator Buttons

• Antique meters
• Antique gauges
• A collection of elevator postal history
• Elevator buttons
• Elevator manuals
• Escalators
• Antique vertical railway cars
• Antique capacity plates

The museum is currently taking donations of any elevator memorabilia. Some recent donations include a signed photo of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in a Titanic-era elevator, a free standing Otis “G” car switch, an elevator operator license from 1931, an original wood step tread from the Otis “L” escalator from Macy’s in New York, and an Otis vertical railway car. As of right now the museum is free to the public but visiting hours are by appointment only.

On the museum’s website you can donate elevator memorabilia of your own or even join the Elevator Historical Society. If you are an elevator enthusiasts yourself, the elevator museum in Long Island is a must-see.

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The History of the Escalator


Malls, airports, and casinos are all places you have probably used an escalator. The moving staircase is an alternative to elevators and is something everyone knows how to use. Some step onto them and ride to the top or bottom, while some still walk to make the trip even faster. But where did the idea for the escalator come from?

A man from Massachusetts named Nathan Ames is credited with patenting the first escalator in 1859, despite the fact that no working model of his design was ever built. It wasn’t until 30 years later in 1889 that Leamon Souder patented his escalator-like device that used a series of steps and links jointed to each other to carry passengers between floors. However, just like Ames’ model, Souder’s was never built either. Souder would then create four more escalator-style patents, including two that were for a spiral moving staircase. Yet again, all of his detailed drawings would stay on paper and never constructed.

In 1892, Jesse Reno patented the “Endless Conveyor or Elevator,” and George Wheeler patented his ideas for a more recognizable moving staircase. Just as the inventors before Escalatorthem, neither were ever built. Three years later, Charles Seeberger began producing drawings for a form of moving staircase similar to the one Wheeler created. Seeberger’s design was much like the escalators that are used today, except they did not have the comb-style stairs for safety.

Seeberger would eventually buy out Wheeler’s patent in 1897 and incorporated his designs into his own. He would then join the Otis Elevator Company in 1899, who would build the first ever working moving staircase. The name “escalator” came from the Latin word “scala,” which means steps, and the word “elevator,” which Otis used for the name of their moving lift.

A Frenchman would invent a “step-less” escalator in 1898 that was used in London’s Harrods store. This escalator used a continuous leather belt made from many pieces linked together that traveled only in the upward direction. It was said that customers who were unnerved by the experience were revived with free smelling salts and cognac.

Otis owned the term escalator so in the first half of the twentieth century other manufacturers of similar products had to market them under different names. Other products were named “Motorstair,” “Electirc Stairway,” and “Moving Stairs.”

A Swiss company called Schindler introduced their first version of the escalator in the mid-1930s. Today, the Schindler Company is the largest maker of escalators and second largest maker of elevators in the world.

Today, there are escalators everywhere, and they are just a norm to people. Their convenience and ability to take people to other floors quickly without waiting have made them a very popular invention.

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