Who Invented the Elevator?

Elevators make it possible to build skyscrapers even with a hundred floors or more. It must have been tough inventing something like that. But like other invented things, they started out simple—as a platform pulled manually. Who invented the elevator in primitive times, then?

The first Inventor
Elevators or lifts were used in ancient times. Historical records say they were used as early as the third century B.C. The first elevator inventor used raw human power to pull huge objects as blocks of stone using a pulley. There is no record of the man or men who invented the elevator that time, but sure enough the mechanical equipment was already in use then.

Otis the Egyptian
Egypt is among the first civilizations recorded to have been engaged in large-scale construction. An Egyptian probably was the one who invented the elevator. Otis was an Egyptian servant of Queen Elizabeth. He was said to be the one who invented the elevator. It was pulled using men or animals. Where water was available, water wheel was used.

Archimedes’ Box
Archimedes also built lifts for moving heavy objects up and down. But his were boxes, not just platforms. They were in popular use in the Middle Ages. Then in the time of King Louis XIV, the boxes were re-designed to carry people. Who specifically re-designed them was not mentioned, so Archimedes still could not be the one who invented the elevator for people.

Otis the American
In the 19th century Elisha Graves Otis introduced power elevators with safety brakes. Elevators then were powered by steam, which was a major breakthrough from the traditional manual operation. However, they were deemed unsafe due to cables that were susceptible to breakage. So Otis introduced something better: vertical lifts with brakes. Today, Elisha Graves Otis is acknowledged as the man who invented the elevator. Due to his innovations to make them fit for human use he is the first elevator inventor.

It is because of Otis that people can now be carried up skyscrapers having a hundred floors or more in a safe manner. Before this, high rise buildings had the problem of how people could get to the upper floors without using the stairs.

Other Inventors
In the year 1846 Sir William Armstrong invented the hydraulic powered crane, paving the way for hydraulic elevators. This replaced the type that was powered by steam. In 1880 Werner Von Siemens of Germany invented the electric elevator. The hydraulic and electric lifts are commonly in use today.