Archive for September, 2010

Elevator Operators Wanted!

Elevator Operators Wanted!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

We want you! If you command an elevator in your day job we want to hear from you. Send your pictures and stories to us. Our plan is to put together a collection of photos, stories and building history into one cool easy to read section on our website. And if we get enough stories and photos we might even publish a book.

This is what we need from you.

Your Name:

The Building Where You Are/Were An Elevator Operator, City, State, Address, Building Name:

How Many Years You Ran The Elevators:

Photographs of Elevator and You:

Most Memorable Stories:

So if you are or ever worked as an elevator operator send us an e-mail at

Posted in Articles | 1 Comment

Great Elevator Americana!

Friday, 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

Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - 1931-1950, Elevators - Pre 1900's | No Comments

Antique Elevator Wanted For 1898 Home

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Jim is looking for an Antique Elevator for his home.

I am looking for an antique elevator for use in a large older home renovation project.  I would appreciate any help finding one.

After contacting Jim to ask him permission to share his e-mail he later shared the following.

Tom, Thanks… yes, posting would be fine… we are in the process of purchasing a large older home in need of repairs and we are planning on adding an additional 2000+  square feet.  The elevator would be located in the new addition.  It will go from the basement to to third floor ball room.  New, would be fine, but old would be better.  The home was built in about 1898 and currently has just over 10,000 feet without counting the basement.  I have been told that antique elevators are out there, just have to be lucky enough to find them.

Help Jim by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - Pre 1900's | 3 Comments

Pacific Coast Elevator Company Video

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Pretty cool video from Youtube user elevatortraction who has some great video’s on his page that relate to older elevators. This one at Antique Elevator at 92 Lonsdale Ave. in North Vancouver, British Columbia is no exception. The elevator was fabricate most likely in it’s entirety by Pacific Coast Elevator Company located in the Los Angeles Area.

Pacific Coast Elevator was a major manufacturer in the 1930’s and beyond. It was purchased in 1946 by Montgomery Elevator Company. It’s not clear whether the products that PECO manufactured continued on or if Montgomery started to phase the components out. If anyone has additional information to share on this please do so in the comments section below.

Thanks again to tractionelevator over on for sharing this video.  The elevator looks to be original to when the building was built.

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Posted in Articles, Elevators - 1931-1950 | No Comments