Elevator Museums

March 21st, 2011

A nice e-mail from Robert Vogel regarding elevator museums in Europe. I wanted to share this with everyone who might be interested. Currently there is one online Elevator Museum supported by Elevator World Magazine. http://www.theelevatormuseum.org/ 


Elevator Museums 

When last I looked (1987, I think it was), there appeared to be exactly two elevator museums in the entire world:
One was/is near Amsterdam, consisting of a good collection of early of elevator equipment, both hydraulic and electric, assembled by Otis’s Netherlands agent (whose name I now forget). As I recall, it wasn’t staffed and was open only by application to the above-mentioned man.
The other was/is in Budapest. It was organized by the manager of the (Communist) state elevator factory. Like his Dutch counterpart, he had an abiding interest in elevator history, and whenever they pulled out an early machine or lift system to replace it with modern equipment, he would appropriate it for his museum.
I had the pleasure of visiting both establishments in about the above year, to find, not too surprisingly, that neither was exactly overrun with other visitors. The Hungarian collection was a bit less interesting than the Dutch, most of the machines being relatively small drum electrics, plus a middle-aged car or two.   I’ve had no contact with either since then and, in fact, have to wonder whether either survives today, what with the likely retirement of both men, and particularly Hungary’s radically changed political basis.

Robert Vogel

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  • Jan L
    March 26th, 2011
    at 6:15 pm

    The Amsterdam Lift Museum later beacme part of the “energetica” museum. Energetica closed and the collection was sold to the “Nemo” Museum in Amsterdam. They have some plans to show the more intersting items, not all.

    Other than the museums that were open for public, many companies and elevator-people have nice collections of artefacts and memorabilia. Personally, I believe that a lift-museum only works if set up as a non-profit project – simply because it is too special to ever make money. To attract more people, you would have to run elevators, maybe a paternoster or thelike, which at the same time would blow up your cost. As we nowadays look more and more at profitability and ROI, it’ll take until we have other times to again have a public museum with a broad range of things to look at – I believe.

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