Ancient Elevator

Just look around and you can see that there are so many inventions out there. And we all are using them for our comfort. Elevators are one of the inventions and we often wonder who would have thought about them?  Who invented the elevator in the first place? How old is the history of elevators? Is an Elevator ancient? Let’s dive into this article on Ancient elevators and quench your curiosity. You don’t have to burn the midnight oil, as we have got your back by bringing its history altogether.

Even though elevators look like modern inventions which are used to carry people or goods vertically. Ancient Elevator has been around for thousands of years. It wasn’t something like the elevators we use today. Because with time, with advancement and technology elevators have seen a lot of growth in terms of various aspects.

The ancient Roman elevator system

There was a Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius during the 1st century BC. He has been known for his multi-volume work entitled De architecture. He was interested in architecture and related ideas.

In addition, He originated the idea that all buildings should have three attributes which are following ;-

  1. Firmitas,
  2. Utilitas
  3. Venustas.

These principles were later widely adopted in Roman architecture as well. This is how the ancient roman elevator system was developed.

When going through the writings of Vitruvius, the Greek mathematician Archimedes created a primitive (ancient) elevator in 236 B.C. And that was run by hoisting ropes wound around a drum. For the movement, they have been rotated by manpower applied to a capstan.

In historical Rome, an underground complex of rooms, animal pens, and tunnels stood beneath the Colosseum. Those were called ancient roman elevators. As there was no modern power system available at those times. So at various intervals, hundreds of men used to power elevators by using winches and counterweights. In addition, they brought gladiators and large animals up through vertical shafts into the arena for battle.

Use of Elevators in 18s [Palace of Versailles]

In 1743, the flying chair was built. And when Louis XV was the king then he allowed one of his mistresses to use the flying chair. Therefore she used to have access to his quarters on the third floor of the Palace of Versailles. Similarly, a “flying table” in his retreat château De Choisy also allowed the king and his private guests to dine without intrusion from the servants. It was something very unique and different. At the sound of a bell, a table would emerge from the kitchen below into the dining room with a luxurious meal, including all of the necessary accouterments. It provided privacy and innovation at that time. At that time various scientists from European countries were doing technological advancements.

However, by the time the elevator powering system was changing. And By the mid-19th century, elevators powered by steam or water were available for sale. But the problem was with ropes as the ropes they relied upon could be worn out or destroyed and were not. Therefore, elevators were generally counted on for only passenger travel. Because goods are heavier than people. However, in 1852, Elisha Graves Otis invented a safety brake that revolutionized vertical lifts.

ancient elevator

ancient elevator

Working principle of a modern Elevator

If an elevator’s hoisting rope broke, a spring would operate pawls on the car. And it compels them into position with racks at the sides of the shaft and halting the car in place. This kind of elevator was Installed in a five-story department store in New York City in 1857. With that Otis’ first ever commercial passenger elevator soon changed the world’s skyline. Which makes skyscrapers possible. A practical reality and turns the most valuable real estate on its head—from the first floor to the penthouse.

You can click here to learn more about elevators. We at Hansika elevators provide a world-class elevator system.


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