If you walk into an older home or building featuring a few stories, there’s a good chance you will see a dumbwaiter or a shaft meant for a dumbwaiter. Depending on the age of the building, you may see a newer era, motorized dumbwaiter or an older, hand-pulley system dumbwaiter. No matter the age of the dumbwaiter, one can easily see its usefulness in a multi-story home.
It’s relatively easy to see a dumbwaiter for what it is – at a base level, dumbwaiters are exactly like elevators, just on a much smaller scale. Instead of carrying people, a dumbwaiter generally carries items from floor to floor without placing stress on the homeowner, housekeeper, or other occupant. For instance, a home dumbwaiter can be used to carry laundry from bedrooms on the top floor down to the basement laundry room without having to fumble around with a laundry basket.
Don’t forget that there are also commercial dumbwaiters, primarily used as a tool at restaurants and hotels. If there is room service at a hotel, a dumbwaiter may be better suited for delivery purposes due to the constraints of elevators. The same goes for the linen changing service – cleaning staff could simply load dirty sheets and other garments into a dumbwaiter and send the linens directly down to the laundry area.
Much like elevators, dumbwaiters feature many safety devices that ensure secure delivery of items while maintaining safety for those utilizing this helpful household tool. Usually made out of steel (and wood in the past), dumbwaiters are equipped with emergency stop buttons for automatic shut-down in case of emergencies. Dumbwaiters also have tracking systems and speed systems that alert users to the position of the dumbwaiter within the shaft, should there be an issue. Finally, most dumbwaiters feature a key lock that disables usage during off-times.