Great Elevator Americana!

September 24th, 2010

It is awesome when we get these kinds of e-mails. This one came from Rob who has some great old elevator castings. What makes the photo’s even cooler is the fact that Rob has the history that goes along with them.

 Rob Piron - The half moon dial has been made into a clock using a thrush bearing gauge. It was apparently created as a “42 years of service” award for a retiring G.E. employee credited with inventing a “hydraulic floor indicator” device. The year of retirement is indicated as 1968, but the dial appears older than that – not sure though.

The switch is salvage of unknown origin. I refinished and mounted it on a pole stand. I have another switch buried in my barn similar in style to the Nissen Building variety posted on your site. Again, note sure of the vintages of either of these styles, but I’m curious which style pre-dates which. I was told the Otis globe logo with the “wreath” pre-dates logos without, but haven’t been able to confirm this. 

The brass ID plate came out the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary, Portland, Maine. The car it was removed from was the original installation from 1892; birdcage style cab driven by an electric basement drum machine.

Ideally I would like to ID exact dates on the Otis items; I’m sure that’s a stretch though. They all do have part numbers, so I was curious if dating is possible with these data.

The last pics are for fun; Here is a great pair of extant c 1911 Otis’s located in the Triangle Lodge building in Portland, Maine. They are the last manual passenger elevators in the City.

Tom, thanks for your help. I’ve been an armchair admirer of early building systems since I was a kid and it’s great to see sites like yours breathing new life into these marvels of the past.

Thanks again,

Rob Piron


Pat Carrajat was nice enough to help with identifying some of these pieces.

  • The half moon is typical for the period between 1890-1940, no way to identify exact dates unless there is date or a casting number. Some casting numbers can be cross referenced by Otis, this vintage woulb often have 2-4 numbers followed by 1-2 letters followed oby 1-2 numbers
  • (i.e. 147TA2 which is a hall button cover or 1898-12 also a button cover. The 1898 does not refer to the year.
  • The car switch cover & handle appears to be a type “O”, I should have a parts leaflet and will check. If it’s a “O” it was produced sometime in the 1930’s in all likelihood.
  • The capacity plate cannot be dated, the style speaks to me as being early 1900’s or late 1800’s.

Thanks Rob again for sharing not only your photographs of early americana elevator pieces but for also including the history behind them!

If you would like to comment on this post please do so in the comments section below.

Tom Sybert

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Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - 1931-1950, Elevators - Pre 1900's Follow responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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