4500-1500 B.C. Early metallurgy spanned 3,000 years through the copper and bronze ages. Surface mining of copper took place in the Balkan and Carpathian Mountains from 4,000 to 2,500. The next 1,000 years of the late Copper Age saw the center of smelting and light casting in Slovakia. Other sites of copper metalworking where early men learned that heat changed the properties of ore were Southern Spain and the Caucasian Mountains. Copper in itself was too soft for the production of practical tools and weapons. With the discovery and working of rich tin mines in Bohemia and the "Tin Islands" (Cornwall in Southwestern England), bronze became the metal of choice throughout Central Europe, Southern Spain, The British Isles, Northern Italy and the South of France. By mixing up to 20% tin with copper, two relatively soft metals produced hard bronze that would take an edge and be drawn, cast and smelted.
2900 B.C. The Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, covered over 13 acres and was built to a height of 481.14 feet. Stones weighing as much as five tons were moved into place with primitive lifting mechanisms. Some accounts cite the involvement of 4,000 stonemasons and 100,000 laborers.
2500 - 1000 B.C. The Iron Age dawned in the Middle East where temperatures of 1500 degrees C., much higher than that to melt copper, were used. However, the new metal, much harder than bronze, would not come into wide use for another 1,000 years. An economical method of smelting iron on a large scale began in Asia Minor, the use in weapons, iron tools ands fittings spreading after 1,000 B.C.
2500-1500 B.C. Water of the Nile was ladled into irrigation ditches by use of a counterweighted lever -- the shaduf
3500-600 B.C. Tiered temples common to Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians were built of brick with the lowest tier being as high as 500 feet. A shrine was at the summit.
600 B.C. Temple of Diana in Ephesus used a ramp of sandbags to raise almost 2,000 stone columns supporting the roof of the edifice.
285 B.C. A 300-foot-high lighthouse on the island of Pharos in Alexandria's harbor served as a beacon for ships in the eastern Mediterranean. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it remained a navigational aid for 1,600 years.
236 B.C. Greek mathematician, physicist and inventor Archimedes designed several hoisting devices incorporating windlasses and the block and tackle. He was best known for the Archimedean screw with crank to lift water and other light material.
100 B.C. Treadmill powered by teams of men operated block and tackles on a crane to lift material for Haterii's Tomb.
50 The water wheel with a horizontal axis was developed, driven by the force of flowing water.
1203 A treadmill hoisting machine powered by donkeys was installed at the Abbey of Mont St. Michel on the French seacoast.
1290 The wiredrawers guild was formed in Paris. As the product was so important in armor, the members were excused from taxes and were free to take on many apprentices.
1690 French engineer Denis Papin developed the idea of using steam to pump water out of mines. He invented the high-pressure steam boiler in 1707.
1698 Capt. Thomas Savery, a military engineer, refined a steam pump, the vacuum of which lifted water out of English mines subject to flooding..
1712 English ironmonger Thomas Newcomen designed an atmospheric steam engine that pumped water from deep mines. One built in 1739 to pump water from a French mine lifted as much in 48 hours as had been raised by 50 men and 20 horses working around the clock for a full week!
1740 Crucible steel, rediscovered by Englishman Benjamin Huntsman of Sheffield would make Sheffield steel as famous as was Damascus steel for sword making, using a technique discovered in India but lost over the ages. It would be over 100 years before American William Kelly and Englishman Henry Bessemer patented the process of de-carbonized melted pig iron. The patent battle between the two and the shortage of the necessary pure pig iron delayed the adoption of oxygen steel furnaces to bring down the price of steel and permit its use in many new applications. .
1743 A counterweighted personal lift was commissioned by Luis XV to be built linking his apartment in Versailles with that of his mistress, Madame de Chateauroux..
1764 James Watt invented the condenser, first step toward the steam engine..
1765 James Watt patented and perfected a steam engine..
1774 Englishman John Wilkinson's mill facilitated the boring and manufacture of cylinders for steam engines.
1782 James Watt invented the double-acting rotary steam engine. Watt and partner Mathew Boulton installed the first rotary motion steam engine in a cotton spinning mill in Papplewick, Nottinghamshire..
1796 Englishman Joseph Branah invented the "U" leather-packing cup making the piston efficient within the cylinder..
1819 Danish physicist Hans C. Oersted discovered electro-magnetism.
1821 Faraday discovered the fundamentals of electromagnetic rotation..
1823 Burton and Hormer built an "ascending room that led to a 37-meter-high platform upon which a maximum of 20 paying visitors discovered an exceptional panorama of London."
1827 Wilhelm August Julius Albert performed the first tests upon iron wire rope..
1829 American physicist John Henry constructed an early version of the electromagnetic motor..
1833 Burgomaster Durrell of Clausthal in the Harz Mountains developed a system whereby men were raised and lowered by reciprocating rods extending the length of the mineshaft up to 200 meters. Two years later, the depth was about 420 meters..
1835 Englishman William Barnett patented the compression of a gas charge before igniting. He later patented a two-stroke engine..
1835 The famed "Teagle" belt-driven, counterweighted, steam-driven lift was developed in England by Frost and Stutt..
1841 John Roebling introduced the manufacture of wire rope in America, primarily for bridges. He was one of the first to provide wire rope for the elevator industry in 1862..
1844 Two hydraulic stage tables were installed in the Vienna Opera House..
1845 Sir William Thompson conceived and patented the idea of the first hydraulic crane. His first crane was used to handle cargo at the Newcastle docks with roped sheaves providing a 3:1 ratio..
1845 British engineer William M'Naught developed the first compound steam engine.
1846 The first hydraulic industrial lift driven by water pressure appeared.
1847 The German electrical firm of Seimens and Halske was formed..
1847 The first parachute (safety) was invented by the Frenchman Marchecourt. The device, preventing the mine cage from dropping when the suspending rope broke, was first put into service two years later in Decize Mines. It was improved in the same year by Fontaine, workshop manager in the Anzin coal mines..
1850 Henry Waterman of New York City was credited with inventing "standing rope control" 1851 -- George Fox and Company of Boston introduced idea of self-locking worm gear to drive an elevator drum hoist.
1851 To remedy insufficient water pressure from the city water mains, Sir William Armstrong developed the first "accumulator" -- in this instance, a large diameter vertical piston supporting a huge wrought iron bucket filed with stones. The weight of the bucket, load and piston upon the water a steam engine had pumped into the accumulator assured a steady supply of pressure of as much as 700 psi.
1851 George Fox and Company of Boston introduced the idea of self-locking worm gear to drive an elevator drum hoist.
1854 Elisha Grave Otis demonstrated the first safety elevator at the New York exposition in the Crystal Palace proving elevator travel for passengers was safe.
1856 William H. Thompson and Eustus P. Morgan patented their "Safety hatch for warehouses," a system of sliding or hinged hatch doors placed in the opening of each floor, reducing the spread of fire.
1857 Otis Elevator Company recieved the first order for a passenger elevator. They had only made freight elevators ince 1853 when they opened.
1857 The first elevator for public use was a steam-driven type installed by Otis Brothers in the five-story department store on Broadway for E.W Haughtwhat & Company.
1860 Augusto Stigler founded an engineering company in Milan. First Stigler electric elevator was installed in 1898. 1860-1864 The five-story Grosvenor Hotel at Victoria Station in London was the first hotel to install lifts using city water pressure. The clientele initially termed them "ascending rooms."
1862 Otis Brothers developed a new "Patent Hoisting Engine" having two vertical steam-fed cylinders situated below a crankshaft upon which was keyed a pulley. A belt from this sheave drove the winding drum located on the same bedplate..
1861-1866 Otis Tufts abandoned improvements upon his vertical screw lift drive and with five new patents addressed safe lifting with multiple hoist ropes. He concentrated upon equalization of two or more ropes, reduction in rope bending and longer lasting connection within the drum..
1862 First funicular railway was built by Frenchmen Molinus and Pronier in Croix-Rousse, Lyons. Its slope was 16 degrees and it traveled 1,530 feet.
1863 Baker Street Station opened and London becomes the first city to develop an underground railway (subway).
1863 William Miller patented the first elevator using worm rack integral with car platform for lifting and preventing fall of car.
1864 William Smith of Philadelphia patented the first worm-driven winding drum.
1865 The British firm of Easton and Amos installed a direct-action passenger lift, with a travel of 56 feet, in the Brighton Hotel.
1865 American Morgan Willard patented a system whereby screws on either side of the car extended the length of the elevator shaft. Unlike the Miller system, the screws turned (not unlike the Otis Tuffs "Vertical Railway" patented in 1859 where the screw was in the center of the car). The screw(s) supported the car should power fail. The Ashcroft Brothers improved upon this system in 1868, as did William Edison (assignor to E.H. Ashcroft) in 1869.
1865 When the six-story Grand Hotel in Paris installed hydraulic elevators, the city pressure was so low a gas engine had to be installed to keep water pressure up to the required level. Two years later, the system was replaced by Leon Edoux.
1866 Otis Tufts developed a system of three spring-loaded roller guides at four points of rail contact on the car assuring a snug fit and reducing either sway or binding. In the same year, Tufts patented an improvement in guide rails, citing the need for a smooth, quiet ride in hospitals..
1867 Campbell, Whittier & Company began production of the Miller Patent Screw Lift Machine with capacities from 2000 to 8000 pounds.
1867 Leon Edoux displayed at the Universal Paris Exhibition the "first secure direct action hydraulic elevators." His elevator carried visitors to an observation platform 65 feet high. The four hollow cast iron columns guiding the lift were also containers for four counterweights, attached to chains that ran over sheaves down to the car. This made the passengers "secure"!
1867 Atmospheric gas engines developed by Otto & Langen were awarded the Gold Medal for "the most economical power for small business."
1867 The Miller Patent Screw Hoisting Machine was marketed by Campbell, Whittier & Company of Massachusetts and received a Gold Medal at the Lowell Fair.
1867 Werner von Siemens developed the shuttle armature for generating alternating current. Called the "dynamo," it paved the way for the universal use of electrical heavy current..
1868 Otis Brothers patented its own variation of the worm-driven drum.
1868 Construction of the New York City subway started..
1868 Waygood manufactured its first hydraulic elevator. Richard Waygood founded the company in 1842.
1869 William E. Hale patented and introduced the "Hale Water-Balance Elevator" in Chicago. Its novelty -- using the force of gravity for its operation.
1870 The hydraulic spur-geared drive was introduced..
1870 C.W. Baldwin patented The Hydro-Atmospheric of water balance elevator; it employed the weight of water, not its pressure as motivation.
1870 The nine-story Equitable Life Assurance Society Building, tallest in New York City, became the first to have passenger elevators specifically designed by the architect for office building use. Otis Tufts' two steam elevators cost a bit less than $30,000. Almost 2,500 people used the elevators the first day!
1870 Lane & Bodley, manufacturers of steam- and hand-powered elevators since 1860, commenced making direct hydraulics operating off city water supply. In 1872, they exhibited their design at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition. By that time, they and two other hydraulic manufacturers had installed about 100 such units in the area, making Cincinnati a center of elevator manufacturing with a trade area of several hundred miles.
1871 Albert Lucius of New York City designed and patented the first hydraulic-driven rack and pinion utilizing a horizontal cylinder.
1871 The Great Chicago Fire destroyed 18,000 buildings in the city center..
1871 The British Parliament gave a group of London Merchantmen the monopoly power to establish the Wharves Warehouse Steam Power and Hydraulic Pressure Company. In 12 years, it laid seven miles of mains along the Thames with 700 pounds of pressure being generated against water by the Falcon Wharf Pumping station.
1872 Timothy Stebins designed and patented a rack and pinion machine driven by a vertical hydraulic piston. By changing gear size, the carrying capacity and speed could be modified.
1872 The first vertical geared hydraulic elevator was installed -- in New York City.
1872 German engineers, Nickolas August Otto and Eugene Langen, began marketing a two-cycle gas engine. Although 5,000 were sold, its size allowed use only at a permanent site.
1874 Wire hoist ropes were first used in the mines of the German Harz Mountains.
1874 U.S. Patent No. 147,853 was issued to J.W. Meeker for counter-balanced steel doors used in protection of freight elevator hoistways. 1875 Philander P. Lane and Samuel R. Smith assigned to manufacturers Lane and Bodley in Cincinnati a patent for the first pull roped hydraulic elevator system. Leakage from the cylinder head could not fall upon the hoist ropes.
1875 Holske patented a device that shifted the gears, rather than belts, in an elevator machine's reduction gearing. Although the New York City inventor's claims were "fully substantiated" in newspaper reports, the mechanism was never put to practical use.
1875 The nine-story Western Union Telegraph Building in New York City introduced mixed usage elevators including two New York Safety Passenger Elevators by Otis Brothers, each with a 30 hp steam engine. Cyrus W. Baldwin designed the third passenger elevator for the use of Western Union employees, constantly on the move. During his distinguished career, Baldwin had received over 35 elevator-related patents. Four related directly to the Western Union contract. William Ellery Hale purchased the patent for the Hydro-Atmospheric Elevator installed as the third elevator, this system becoming known as the Hale Water Counterbalance Elevator. Operating through the force of gravity, it could approach speeds of 1500 fpm. Although operated within more sensible limits, it was the ideal elevator for the young boys delivering telegrams!
1875 Nicolas August Otto built the first commercially successful four-cycle gas engine, immediately patenting it in the U.S. and the U.K.
1875 Schindler -- to become the world's second-largest elevator manufacturer -- was founded when Robert Schindler opened a machine shop on an island in the River Reuss, near Lucerne.
1877 Traction drive invented by Friedrich Koepe, a German mining engineer, in the Ruhr Area by German Patent No. 218 1878 -- Leon Edoux's four direct-action hydraulic elevators in the --Trocadero Towers at the Universal Exposition had three times the travel of any previous lifts. Each cabin could carry 60 passengers to a height of 280 feet. A large steam engine in the base of each tower returned water to a tank at the peak. Edoux's demonstrations had no equal on either side of the Atlantic!
1878 First electric elevator was built by Siemens in Mannheim, Germany and patent issued same year to Seimens and Halske.
1878 Charles Hill Morgan patented a direct-action hydraulic elevator and installed the first such type in the Washburn & Moer Wire Works in Worcester, Massachusetts.
1880 To connect separate stores of the Grande Magasins du Louvre in Paris, a small tramway was installed in a tunnel under the intervening Hotel du Louvre. Cabins were placed on the interior railway by hydraulic elevators.
1881 Werner von Siemens connected a steam engine to a dynamo.
1881 Edison displayed a 300 hp steam-driven dynamo at the Paris Exhibition.
1882 Otis Tufts installed his first "Vertical Screw Railway," driving a screw that extended the length of a shaft way. A passenger car was fastened to the traveling nut.
1882 A 1000 hp direct-connected steam-driven dynamo was installed by Siemens in the West Berlin Power Station.
1882 Englishman Hart developed idea of a continuous human bucket elevator called "The Paternoster." 1884 -- J & E Hall installed the first Cyclic lift (Paternoster) in England.
1885 The Home Insurance Building in Chicago became the first steel skeleton type building with bolted construction.
1885 Prof. G. Forbes obtained Patent No. 1288 for the first carbon brush.
1886 First concept of a gearless elevator machine was a U.S. patent by Reynolds.
1886 Victor Popp, an Austrian engineer, created a compressed air network in Paris, supplying a driving force for craftsmen, public clocks and some elevators that were termed, "Aero-hydraulics."
1887 William Baxter is reported to have installed the first American electric elevator in the U.S. The lift was probably provided with an electric motor manufactured by Frank Alvord Perret, whose Elektron Mfg. Company was founded in Brooklyn the previous year.
1888 Charles Platt made an attempt to solve the high-rise electric elevator problem by mating a horizontal cylinder roped machine with a motor-driven screw that forced a traveling nut and attached sheaves apart. Frank Sprague developed the motors and control .
1888 Otis Brothers & Company introduced electric operation for hydraulic valves, deriving power from storage batteries.
1888 J. Richard & Company installed a direct-action hydraulic lift with a travel of 134 feet in the Columbus Monument in Barcelona, Spain.
1889 At the Paris Universal Exhibition, the Gustave Eiffel Tower contained five steam-driven hydraulic elevators -- two by Roux-Combaluzier, two inclined Otis elevators and one Edoux with one car balancing another.
1889 An electric elevator built by Chretian for the 1889 Paris Exhibition was installed in the tower pylon at the entrance to the Gallery of Machines.
1889 The Hall of the Machines at the Paris Exhibition costing as much to create as the Eiffel Tower, included electrically driven moving platforms running the length of the hall.
1889 Otis produces the first AC operated elevator in New York City.
1889 Amiot introduced his curved staircase private elevator at the Paris Universal Exhibition.
1890 De Bueren, a Frenchman, is said to have installed the first gearless elevator in New York City's German-American house.
1890 Japan's longest travel elevator was installed in the country's tallest structure -- the 12-story Ryoukaka Tower.
1890 Otis entered the U.K. market under the name American Elevator Company. At this time, the American company's other offices were Otis Brothers in New York City and Hale Elevator Company in Chicago.
1890 The Tacoma Building in Chicago became the first steel skeleton building with riveted construction.
1890 Haughton Elevator Company was founded in Toledo, Ohio, specializing in steam and hydraulic elevators.
1891 Roux-Compaluzier built a direct-action hydraulic in Paris' Alma Hippodrome to lift lions from cages into the arena in a reenactment of the Christian martyrs in the Roman Coliseum.
1893 At the Chicago Columbian Exposition, Jesse Reno presented his "mobile ramp," and Otis displayed an electric directed-connected drum including a range of safety devices. An electric train conveyed visitors on a track that looped around the fairgrounds and a rudimentary moving sidewalk carried those entering from the pier.
1891-1894 The world's first funicular railway was built at Weehawken, New Jersey to carry vehicles up a 200-foot track. Associated with the system was a tower with three roped-hydraulic elevators that would carry 130 persons each.
1892 Generator field controlled DC motor was first proposed by Harry Ward Leonard with a number of patents to follow.
1892 Forty-eight elevators manufactured by the Sprague Elevator Company of Watessing, New Jersey were the first electric elevators installed in the London Underground.
1892 Chicago subway -- second in the US -- opened.
1892 Jesse Reno designed and patented a moving inclined ramp with cleated platforms on the belt.
1892 G.H Wheeler invented and patented a flat-step moving stairway with a handrail.
1894 Waygood designed a "triple-jigger" hydraulic lift that saved water by using only the necessary number of pistons.
1895 The 21-story Masonic Building in Chicago became the world's tallest building, remaining so for 10 years.
1896 Budapest subway opened.
1897 U.S. Patent No. 595874 was awarded to August L. Duwelius for a gearless machine concept.
1897 Glasgow subway opened.
1900 Fraser elevators with elaborate roping were installed in Chicago's 12-story Merchants' Loan Building.
1900 The Paris Universal Exposition, again held at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, was the largest ever held in Europe and a two-speed moving sidewalk -- the Trottier Roulant -- looped the main sites at 2.5 and 4.5 miles per hour. Seeberger, in partnership with Otis, presented the first escalator. The exposition hastened the development of the Paris Metro with 23 stations, one at the fair.
1900 A patent of the present form of 1:1 roping for a gearless elevator machine was awarded to C.W. Baldwin.
1901 The first Otis electric drum machine elevator was imported by Takata Import Co. and installed in Japan's Nihon Seimei Building. It is now in the Tokyo National Museum 1902 -- Waygood, because of an interest in the Reno Stairway, bought shares in the Reno Company.
1902 The first direct plunger elevators were installed by Otis for high-rise passenger service.
1904 Otis introduced its gearless elevator machine 1904 -- Joseph Richmond/Carey "press button" control in England was touted to be a "first."
1904 The Standard Plunger Elevator Company sold 110 hydraulic elevators to the John Wanamaker Stores in New York City and Philadelphia.
1905 The Majestic Building in Chicago became the world's tallest building, surpassing the Masonic Temple Building.
1906 G. Falconi established his elevator business in Milan.
1906/07 Sprague and Otis combined to win order for 170 elevators for the London Underground -- each to carry 70 persons.
1907 First Collective Push button Control installed by Otis.
1909 The Blackstone and LaSalle Hotels in Chicago become the world's tallest, Chicago holding the record for 22 years.
1909 The 41-story Singer Building in New York City was the first in which elevator operators were equipped with telephones connected to an "elevator supervisor" who controlled departures and confirmed departures.
1914 Boston's first elevator code became effective.
1916 Otis acquired R. Waygood, the new entity becoming Waygood-Otis.
1918 New York City adopted its first "elevator rules" comprising 16 pages. It restricted speed to 700 fpm.
1919 The 60-story Woolworth Building, constructed in New York City, remained the world's tallest for 15 years.
1922 The Edison Company changed the current in New York City from two-phase DC to three-phase AC, generating thousands of elevator changeovers.
1924 A system invented by Otis allowed proper distribution and stopping of elevator cars at four m/s without any action of operator other than pressing the buttons and closing the doors.
1924 Otis installed the first automatic "Signal Control" in New York City. The elevator cars required no attendants.
1926 Haughton developed the automatic car door and gate closer. It was patented in 1929.
1926 The first parking garage, moving cars automatically in three directions -- Ruth Safety Garages of Chicago -- was completed in that city's Pure Oil Building.
1929 Japan's first gearless machine (500 fpm) was installed in the Mitsui Bank.
1930 Chrysler Building in New York City became world's tallest.
1931 New York City elevator code was revised to allow 1,000 fpm elevators in the Empire State Building. Included are 67 elevators.
1932 Empire State Building in New York City became the world's tallest.
1947 Otis and Stigler combined in Italy to become Stigler-Otis.
1948 Schindler entered the Italian market with a main office in Genoa and branches in Milan and Turin.