U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header


America Gets A lift

Sunday, March 27th. The ingenuity of one man helped to change the profile of America’s cities, starting 165 years ago.

This month in 1857 in New York City, Elisha Otis installed the first enclosed, commercial passenger elevator. His earlier development of automatic brakes meant that riders were safe, even if the hoisting cable of an elevator broke. Subsequent installations have lifted city skylines, as architects began to design increasingly taller buildings. And reversing centuries of practice, the elevator made the upper floors of a building more desirable for owners and renters than the lower ones.

Making and installing elevators and escalators is a $3.7 billion a year business for 174 establishments nationwide, providing jobs for some 9,000 people.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at www.census.gov.

Sources:

Top

Back to Header