The elevator – this often-underappreciated innovation should always remind us that the sky’s the limit. Here are some uplifting facts and figures regarding how the rise of elevators has accelerated the capabilities and potential of civilization.
Elevators aren’t probably at the top of your mind or something you think about often, but think about it: how often do you use an elevator?! We’ll venture to guess it’s pretty often. In fact, elevators are one of the most highly frequented areas on most all properties. See the following good-to-know elevator facts:
900,000: the estimated amount of elevators in the United States.
5: the average amount of people per elevator ride.
4: the average amount of daily elevator rides per passenger.
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4-5 floors, or 40 feet: the average elevator rise.
20,000: the average amount of passengers carried by a typical elevator per year.
18 billion: the number of passenger trips per year in the United States.
1853: the first elevator shaft is designed into a building, at the Cooper Union Foundation in New York. Although clunky steam and hydraulic elevators existed, the architects predicted that safe, smooth, modern elevators are soon to be a part of everyday life.
1857: the world’s first successful passenger elevator is designed by Elisha Otis, for the E.V. Haughwout Building in New York. It has a hydraulic lift, powered by a steam engine located in the basement. Cost: $300. The building doesn’t necessarily need it, but people come from miles around to witness it and ride in it.
1874: Elisha Otis designs the first modern elevator, with a safety break. This innovation is what makes skyscrapers possible. Today, the Otis Elevator Company is still the world’s largest maker of elevators.
Elevator music: first appears in the 1920s, to calm people who fear taking elevators.
Asia-Pacific: the area of the world experiencing the largest growth of new elevators.
$125 billion: the maintenance and modernization budget that will be spent on elevators and moving stairways by 2021.
The Empire State Building: a B-25 Mitchell bomber plane gets lost in the fog and hits the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945. One of the engines cuts an elevator cable while a woman is riding in the car. An emergency auto brake saves her life.
41 hours: the longest anyone is recorded as being stuck in an elevator, in New York in 2008. Production manager Nicholas White, 34, is coming back from a cigarette break when the elevator gets stuck between floors. He says the worst thing about being trapped that long is having no water. Surely, the cigarettes don’t help.
1985: the New York Marriott introduces the first “smart” elevator, which takes passengers directly to their floor without stopping.
1,070 feet: the Bailong Elevator in Hunan, China is located in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It holds the record for world’s tallest outdoor elevator. The lift in one of the three double-deck elevators takes just 1 minute and 32 seconds.
45.8 mph: the high-speed NexWay elevator at the Shanghai Tower Unit OB-3 in China (installed in 2016) travels 121 stories and is the fastest elevator in the world.
We saved the best for last — the most eye-opening, heartbreaking elevator trivia fact of all:
The “Close Door” button: it doesn’t actually work when you push it. It’s only there to give the passenger the illusion of control. The door is always timed to close on its own. The button is enabled only in emergency situations.
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