Archive for February, 2011

Old Elevators In Danger of Extinction

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Hi – I run a 19th century former textile mill in New York State which is now a mix of art and industrial tenants, and we also operate a non-profit art center.  We have 5 antique freight elevators which continue to function well and are used daily by our tenants.  They are maintained monthly and inspected annually.  However, the municipality in which we are located is suddenly requiring that they meet all of today’s current codes.  We are in danger of losing them.
We are searching either for attorneys or consultants having knowledge of the applicability of the codes to antique elevators.  My search led me to your blog.  Are there individuals out there who might be able to help us with this matter?  Time is of the essence so I would appreciate very much any help you can lend.
Thank you!!
Robin E. Rosenberg
Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center


Elevator Pres. Response

Hi Robin, this is a tough situation that many who have older elevators are currently facing. Unfortunately there are parts of the code that truly should be adhered to to ensure the safety of everyone who uses these older elevators, however it seems that elevators that were installed many years ago may be grandfathered and not required to meet the current codes. The A17.3 Elevator Code addresses existing elevators and what are safety improvements if an upgrade is to be done. You don’t want anyone getting hurt on your existing elevator, that’s the key. Dangerous elevators will kill people and you should adhere what your inspector and elevator contractor are recommending for safety upgrades.
My advice to you is to ask your elevator company whether this “new” requirement to bring your elevator up to current code is a State of NY requirement or your local city. Many building owners simply don’t have the finances to cover such upgrades. You might even want to contact your local AHJ or elevator inspection body to see what the regulations are.
There are some excellent elevator consultants out there that might be worth hiring to assist with your older elevator problem and we’d be happy to assist with providing some contacts for you. Another route that has helped with other cities is to contact your local legislator who covers your district and meet with them. Sometimes variances, due to age of building, can be accommodated as well as for historic preservation. But you’ll need to see what he or she says.
I hope this has been helpful and wish you luck with your project. I hope that you’re not required to bring your elevator up to the current code as it is expensive and the building will loose a bit of it’s character. New elevators today have a life span of 10-20 years. The one you have and those from the 1920’s and 1930’s can run for another 50 years.  If you have photos we’d love to show them online.


Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 3 Comments

Old Elevator in California

Old Elevator in California

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

woolworth 4 elevator picsHi-

Here are four pics of my old, working  Otis elevator in a building I own in Oxnard, California. I am interested in connecting with people interested and knowledgeable about units like this.

I could use some help with maintenance info, repairs, upgrading, etc.

Thanks and regards, David

Please connect with David in the comments below.

Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 1 Comment