Simon’s Backup Weblog


150 years of the lift

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on April 6, 2007

It’s the invention that changed the shape of our cities, and it’s just celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Without them there would be no high-rise city. But when it comes to the passenger lift – now celebrating its 150th anniversary – are you a lost soul or a welcome wagon?

It’s one of those unglamorous inventions that’s so widely used it goes largely unnoticed. You go to the lifts, push the button, and even if it only takes a few seconds, it still feels like too long.

Then you get inside, and as the doors close you take a close-up look at your fellow passengers, get irritated if they’ve stopped the lift for only one floor, and get even more irritated if not only can you see them in unexpected proximity, you can also smell them.

Erecting skyscrapers
The invention of the lift made skyscrapers possible
But without the lift, which is celebrating a low-key 150th anniversary, the urban landscape would look utterly different. High-rise apartments and thrusting corporate tower blocks would have remained distinctly low-rise if we still depended on the stairs.

Going up!

The highest and fastest I’ve used are the set that go up the CN Tower in Toronto. The most peculiar were a set that descended into the Gouffre de Padirac in France…

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One Response to '150 years of the lift'

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  1. davesslave said,

    I didn’t realize the lift had been around that long.


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