Archive for the ‘Elevators - 1900-1930’ Category

Brick & Mortar Elevator Museum Opens 6-29-2011

Brick & Mortar Elevator Museum Opens 6-29-2011

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

This month the Elevator History Museum ( will be opening in Long Island City, New York. Founder and Curator of the museum, Patrick Carrajat, is asking for our assistance in helping preserve the history of our trade by donating any old artifacts that could be displayed at the museum. He says he already has a good collection of antique elevator components from the east coast but his west coast catalogs lacks some. If anyone has anything they would like to display at this museum please contact Patrick directly at 917.748.2328.

For more information please click the two .pdf documents below.



Posted in Articles, Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - 1931-1950, Elevators - 1951-1970, Elevators - 1971-1990, Elevators - 1991-2010, Elevators - Pre 1900's | 1 Comment

Old Elevator Button or Something Else???

Old Elevator Button or Something Else???

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Need help with this one. Looks like it might have been some type of button but was it used on an elevator and if so what was the K marking on it for? Also after a search on this building which was built in 1915 this type of button most likely wouldn’t have been used for a push button. There would have been a car switch operation or attendant around this time.

From Cindy:

We were told this was an elevator control switch. Grandfather worked at the Hamms Building in St. Paul Mn, so we were thinking it might have come from there.  Odd looking thing and great conversation piece!  Any info would be appreciated.  Thank You.

Okay elevator historians, share your ideas in the comments section below.  Thanks!

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Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | No Comments

Are These Elevator Button Plates?

Are These Elevator Button Plates?

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

We received this e-mail today. If anyone has more information on this building or these plates please share it in the comments section below. Thanks!

Original E-mail: 

Hello:  Maybe you can help me.  I have purchased 4 of what I think are elevator call button face plates.  I found these at the estate sale for the old president of the State National Bank in Corsicana Tx.  The lobby was remodeled about 20 years ago and I think he may have wanted to keep these as mementos.   I say they are elevator plates, but they may have been for wall lights, door knobs.  They spared no expense when the bank was built in the 1920’s.  I am sure these are that old.  I would really like to know if these did come from the elevator.  I would really appreciate it if you have the time and can reply.  I have included a picture of our old bank also.
Thank You, Anita

Response from Elevator Preservation:

Hi Anita! Nice to hear from you! The plates you have are exceptional and the history you have on where they came from is even more unique. Unfortunately they are not elevator call button plates and are most likely door escutcheon plates.

Push buttons, and the holes they protruded from would have had smaller holes that they would have stuck through. Closer to 5/8″ or 3/4″, which was the standard of that time period.  Another item that is noticeable is that there are no mounting holes in the plate, top and bottom, that screws would hold the plate to the electrical box. Also there are four holes around the hole that would indicate another trim ring would be mounted on top and then a door knob on top of that.

Thank you so much for contacting us. Keep the history with the pieces along with the photographs. That in itself makes the plates more valuable!
Tom Sybert

6/21/2011 – Jon was nice enough to share the following pictures from the machine room. How cool! Thanks Jon!


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Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 3 Comments

Titche-Goettinger Building Elevator Rediscovered

Titche-Goettinger Building Elevator Rediscovered

Monday, May 16th, 2011

I’m doing some research on an Otis elevator installed in 1929 for the Titche-Goettinger department store in Dallas, Texas. The elevator features a manual control system and folding bench. During a 1950s renovation the interior of the cab was redecorated and the ceiling lowered with the addition of a fan (the original moulding can be seen above the later ceiling. The walls are currently a green vinyl. Originally there were 8 elevators; 4 were removed when escalators were added in the 1950s and only 2 remain in operation today (the building now houses apartments and a university). In the mid-90s elevator #1 was raised from the basement and welded into place but was never renovated due to lack of funds. It remained sealed and forgotten until now.

In celebration of the building’s history volunteers would like to clean it up to a “displayable” condition. We’re looking for any information about reproduction parts (a stool), cleaning suggestions and knowledge about the functionality of the different controls/switches. I’ve included some recent photos and a Dallas Morning News article from November 1930.

 The department store closed in the late 80s and was converted to loft apartments in 1997 (some history of the building: ( The development team at the time raised the No. 1 elevator up from the basement and welded it into place to use as a phone booth, but funds ran out and they simply closed it up to keep it secure.

The building was listed to the National Register of Historic Places and is getting a plaque to celebrate the occasion. It will include hosting a community history day and open house in June to tour some of the old areas in the building (and hopefully some of the old store employees will attend). The old elevator was recently “rediscovered” by new staff and the residents (of which I am one) have volunteered to clean it up for the event. Initially it just needs a good scrubbing for the event, but we could use that opportunity to raise donations for a more thorough cosmetic restoration. I along with many other residents have never seen a manually controlled elevator like this, so it’s very interesting. Old articles report a team of 13 women who operated them up until the store’s closing.

It’s obvious the elevator has been modified over time. When a major store expansion occurred in the 1950s the interior of the elevator was “modernized”. There’s no telling if there is anything original left under the green vinyl panels, but the 1950s style is still interesting. There’s currently no power or lights inside the cab. The elevator penthouse still has all of the original machinery, and even contains a big board with all of the original tools in place. The 2 remaining elevators were completely modernized in 1997.

Need assistance in refurbishing elevator equipment. If you can assist please comment in space below.

Posted in Articles, Elevators - 1900-1930 | 4 Comments

Can You Identify This Old Part?

Can You Identify This Old Part?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

These photos and e-mail were sent by Kim W. She asked “What the heck is it”?  While it looks like it may have been a car switch there don’t appear to be enough contacts to control a motor. Typically you’d have at least two in both up and down directions at a minimum. Some had 10-12 which are still available over at . Cutler Hammer back in the day manufactured elevator parts and actually had C.J. Anderson fabricate many of the switching devices that they sold under the Cutler Hammer name. No longer are these parts available from Cutler Hammer C.J. Anderson still fabricates many of them still today.

The actual e-mail and photos are below. If you know what this is or would like to share your opinion of what it might be please comment below.

I have an item that I don’t know what it is, does it have a value, are there collector’s for this type of item?, etc.
I am hoping that if I can give you a description and what little info I have gotten, you can answer some of my questions, or point me in a direction that could help me.

This item is made of a heavy metal. It is black, round, has a single electrical cord attached, it has a handle that turns the center section, I think…
There is a metal plate on this item and here is the information on that metal plate:
Milwaukee, Wis.
volts: 110      MAX AMPS: 10 – 2.5
16  C.P. LTS. 20      CAT NO  24115
SER NO. 682805      PAT’D  FEB. 27, 1899

******I was told that it possibly had something to do with elevators so that is why I have contacted you.

Any information that you can share with me would be greatly appreciated.

Kim W.

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Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 8 Comments

Old Elevator Cab Info Needed

Monday, March 21st, 2011

elevatorcabAt first this appeared to be some type of tellers box but after reviewing it a little more closely the scissor gate would indicate it’s an elevator cab. Looks to be around the turn of the century and we’re waiting for more images to post. If you’ve got more information on it please post it in comments below.

This post/image was submitted by David B. – Philadelphia, PA

Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 1 Comment

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

Smithsonian Warsaw Hand Operated Lift Needs a Home!

Smithsonian Warsaw Hand Operated Lift Needs a Home!

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Yes you heard it correctly, a fully functional old Warsaw Hand Operated (manual) Dumbwaiter/Material Lift needs a new home. This unit is currently installed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and needs to be taken apart and removed from the building. It is in excellent condition and SI is actively trying to find a non-profit museum or like entity that would be interested in acquiring at no charge (except removal/delivery) this fully operational piece of elevator equipment.  It’s been kept in great condition and was used just two months ago. If this elevator could talk, boy the stories it might tell.

Final approval and terms will be set by SI. If you are interested in this hand operated elevator please contact Jerry at the Smithsonian. Let’s find a home for this vertical transportation treasure!

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Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 2 Comments

Great Antique Elevator Pieces

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I love these e-mails and the photographs that are attached. The car switch photograph is pretty rare in my opinion. Never have I seen one with the markings that this one had. If you’re reading this post and would like to share a photo gallery of your collection, send it over to and if you’ve got some history behind the pieces that’s what makes them special. Great e-mail Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing. If anyone has information on these items please share them in the comments section below.


My name is Jennifer and my father has been in the elevator industry for over 40 years. He recently went through some of his things and he gave me some stuff. He did not have a lot of information about where they came from or what age they were but they seem to be some really interesting pieces. I would appreciate any information that you could give my regarding the age of any of the items and also what materials they may be made of. I tried to take pictures so that you could see the details and also included a yardstick so that you would know what size these items were.


Again, any information that you can give me would be appreciated. Also, my dad is really curious too!
Thank you,



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Posted in Elevators - 1900-1930 | 6 Comments

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