[WORLDKINGS] On this day- March 23, 2023 – The 166th anniversary of Elisha Otis installing the first commercial elevator in New York City (1908)


(Worldkings.org) On March 23, 1857 the first Otis commercial passenger elevator was installed at 488 Broadway at Broome Street at the E.V. Haughwout Building. This technological breakthrough, along with developments in steel-frame construction, allowed buildings to grow ever taller.

The history of the elevator goes back to the mid-19th century.  There were many types of hydraulic elevators in operation in the 1850s that carried freight, but passenger elevators were not attempted because early elevators lacked reliability.  The main issue with early elevators was safety; the cables which carried elevator cabs often snapped, causing the cab to come crashing to ground level.  Elisha Otis encountered the elevator safety issue while working at a sawmill and took a place in history by solving it.


Elisha Otis was born on August 3, 1811 in Halifax, Vermont. From 1838 to 1845 he manufactured wagons and carriages. While employed as a master mechanic in a bedstead factory, he invented several labor-saving machines. In 1851 he was sent to operate a new factory in Yonkers, New York.

It was at this site that Otis worked on the concept of a “safety elevator” and his sons assisted in successfully testing the design. His elevator featured a system that prevented the cab from falling in the event that the cable broke. Otis’s safety elevator was officially introduced in 1852 upon founding his own elevator company, Otis Brothers & Co. Otis’s design revolutionized the capabilities and safety of elevators and his design is the foundation of elevators currently in use today.


On this day, March 23rd, in 1857, Elisha Otis installed his first elevator at 488 Broadway New York City.  Otis’s New York elevator is credited with being the first modern elevator. 

Otis’ design became a must-have. On January 15, 1861, he patented an independently controlled steam engine for elevator use. This invention laid the foundation for what eventually became the Otis Elevator Company.

The Otis Elevator Company is still active today, as a United Technologies Corporation subsidiary, and is one of the world’s largest vertical transport system manufacturers.


According to famousdaily.com & villagepreservation.org 

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