Elisha Otis

Elisha Otis

The history of elevators would not be the same without Elisha Graves Otis, the man who patented the look and operation of the modern day elevator.

He was born on August 3, 1811 in Halifax, Vermont, USA to he father Stephen Otis, Jr. and mother Pheobe Glynn. Although he had talent for craftsmanship and inventions he moved from job to job, without finding any success. His first successful invention happened in New York where he worked in a bed frame factory. He devised solution with helped him to automate productions of bedsteads and make four times more material than with manual work. With $500 earned from that invention he stared his short-lived company where he tried to manufacture automatic breaks for trains. In 1845 he first came to idea to make an elevator with automatic break. In beginning no one take notice of this invention, but he gained much publicity during 1854 New York World's Fair. There he presented his automatic break elevator with a demonstration in witch axe man cut the rope that held the elevator with Otis in it. After that his company started getting many orders of his safe elevators every year.

Three years after his first public demonstration, five story department store in New York City installed his first steam driven public elevator. It proved to be great success and many other stores followed them. In 1870 nine story building was made with internal structure already prepared for installment of elevators. This moment marked the starting point of mass elevator usage in USA and the world.

Today Otis Elevator Company holds the majority share in production and installment of modern elevators and escalators in the world. His elevators were installed in some of the most famous buildings in the world, including Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, World Trade Center and Burj Khalifa (as of 2010 the tallest building in the world).

Elisha Graves Otis (aged 49) died at the April 8, 1861 suffering from the effects of diphtheria illness.