How lifts came into being

IN 1853 a man called EG Otis invented the first lift or elevator that was safe enough to be used for passengers.

IN 1853 a man called EG Otis invented the first lift or elevator that was safe enough to be used for passengers.

But he couldn't find any buyers. In 1853, most office buildings were only three or four storeys high, so everybody walked up and down the stairs. A few buildings had lifts that were used only for freight, but these were so unsafe that anything valuable was carried by hand. Otis decided to show the world how safe his lifts were.

He took his invention to the Crystal Palace Exhibition in New York in 1854. People watched as he rode his lift up, then, on the way down, he cut the rope that was holding it up. The crowd gasped, for it should have fallen down, instead, there was Mr Otis in the elevator, smiling and waving.

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