Archive for the ‘Elevators - 1931-1950’ Category

Old Hall Station Meet New Pushbutton – United Elevator

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

This was sent in to us which is pretty cool. The building owner wanted to retain the existing cover plates in the first floor lobby station but a new lower voltage push button with a smaller contact block design was needed. The contractor after trying to work with a fixture company in NY without resolve then contacted C.J. Anderson and they provided a solution not only in refurbishing the plate but installing a new button that would work with the new control system. Pretty cool stuff, nice to see building owners wanting to retain these vintage historic pieces.

Tags: ,
Posted in Elevators - 1931-1950 | No Comments

Pacific Elevator and Equipment Company Car Switch Refurbishment

Pacific Elevator and Equipment Company Car Switch Refurbishment

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

These photos were shared by C.J. Anderson & Company who restored them for a very old and historical building in San Francisco California. Two car switches were brought back to there original condition and the one red lens, which was cracked was replicated using a cast resin from a mold taken from the original lens. It’s truly amazing the dirt and history that these two car switches showed. Considering they’ve been in operation for over 50 years it was an honor to bring them back to the day they were first installed. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to have your original castings restored in your elevator. It’s worth the cost for doing so and you’ll most likely get another 40-50 years out of service from your elevator by doing so.

Work Performed

  • Refinished Panels, coated/sealed once completed
  • Rebuilt Latch For Handle
  • Replicated Red Octagon Lens
  • Created New Trim Ring For Lens and Added Lamp

Before & After Photos

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Articles, Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - 1931-1950 | 1 Comment

Wiring Diagrams For Old Elevators…a Code Requirement!

Wiring Diagrams For Old Elevators…a Code Requirement!

Monday, June 25th, 2012

A requirement by the elevator code all elevators must have a set of wiring diagrams located in the machine room no matter how old they might be. This not only helps the mechanic work on the equipment in a safer manor but it should make the repair much easier and quicker, thus saving you money on your repair bill. It should minimize the time involved with trouble shooting.

The wiring diagrams for the elevator system are the building owners property. Get two sets, one to keep in the elevator machine room and the other in a safe place. Always have a copy somewhere as they have a tenancy to walk away when maintenance is  switched to a new company.  If you’re in a bind with an elevator system that has a manufacturer that may have gone out of business or is really old, contact Jim Collett at the number or e-mail address below.  He has the largest collection of wiring diagrams for sale in our industry, plus he’s a good guy and author of The Elevator Man Stories.

Need a Wiring Diagram?

My technical library consists of 30,000 sheets of hard-to-find, vintage and out-of-business Elevator Companies’ wiring diagrams, manuals and engineering releases. They range from the early 1900s through the late 1980s.

I was hired for my first job as an Electrical Draftsman by Haughton Elevator Company in the early 1960s in Los Angeles, CA.

I also have the software and equipment necessary to re-draw, restore and markup existing elevator wiring diagrams. Completed diagrams can be converted to all popular formats, i.e. JPEG, PDF and Auto CAD.

I am also able to digitize all of your wiring diagrams, manuals and other pertinent information and load it on to a thumb drive for use in the field on portable devices such as tablets or laptops.
For more information and pricing please contact me at:
(831) 324-4697

Jim Collett
***Sorry, I cannot supply “Proprietary Information.”***

Posted in Articles, Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - 1931-1950, Elevators - 1951-1970, Elevators - 1971-1990, Elevators - 1991-2010, Elevators - Pre 1900's | No Comments

Have an older elevator controller? Replace it with a “Like for Like” and extend the life of your unit.

Have an older elevator controller? Replace it with a “Like for Like” and extend the life of your unit.

Friday, March 30th, 2012

In some cities and towns replacing older antiquated elevator controls with newer modern ones can be an extremely expensive proposition. Typically it’s not only the cost of the controller and installation for putting it in but the entire elevator needs to be brought up to what the most recent code that your city/state has adopted. This includes fire service and ADA requirements and other devices that can easily run over $100,000 depending on how much work needs to be done.

***Disclaimer: It should be noted that it’s a good idea to considering making this kind of upgrade to your elevator as the elevator code is there to protect those who ride, work and inspect them. At some point you’ll need to make improvements and these may be mandated by your state or city, such as adding Fire Service or making sure that certain safety features are installed under ASME A17.3 which again is there to keep everyone safe and minimize your liability. So if you see this coming down the pipeline you should start the planning/budgeting process to avoid last minute rush charges. Ask your elevator contractor to provide their take on what they see happening in the future***

The elevator control system is the brain of the elevator and as systems age parts and components become more difficult to get, in some cases special fabrication is required and elevators can be down for weeks while the parts are made. This can be a serious issue for any building that relies on the buildings elevator system for accessibility. C.J. Anderson has thousands and thousands of older type open relay panels still running today and we still have coils, copper contacts and carbon contacts readily for them. As you can imagine there is still a demand for them as well. Some of these controllers have been running since 1910 and will continue to run another 100 years because they were engineered and built to last.   The key point here is to let you know that as soon as the controller is replaced with a newer model/style with a different type of motor control and logic the entire elevator needs to be brought up to the latest code adopted by the jurisdiction where the elevator is installed. This is considered a major alteration. This is where the fire service, ADA, unintended movement, etc. all start to become expensive items on the proposal that your contractor has worked up for you. In some cases, adding a fire alarm system throughout the entire building is the other expense most don’t think about. Consult your local Fire Department to see what else might be required with this kind of upgrade.

C.J. Anderson has been successful in engineering and fabricating “Like for Like” elevator controllers for certain locations where parts for controllers can no longer be found or fabricated.  We along with other inspectors and AHJ’s have interpreted this as a repair/replacement as defined by A17.3. below.

replacement: the substitution of a device or component and/or subsystems in its entirety, with a unit that is basically the same as the original for the purpose of ensuring performance in accordance with applicable Code requirements.

Note that under the alteration definition, some interpret it that while the controller is being replaced in it’s entirety, it is considered a substitution because the motor logic and the logic of the elevator system is not “changing”. If the new controller had a different type of motor control, upgrading to a VVVF drive or logic that was computer based instead of relay, this would be considered a “change”.  It is vital that you or your elevator contractor double check with your local AHJ if a like for like controller replacement is acceptable before going through the motions of quoting, ordering and installing such a system.

alteration: any change to equipment, including its parts, components, and/or subsystems, other than maintenance, repair or replacement.

Conditions that we’ve had to meet when engineering and building these types of controls are noted below.

Condition 1. The logic of the elevator system does not change. For example, if the existing controller is run using relays, whether they be old style carbon, copper coil type or the newer ice cube relay type, you CANNOT install a new controller with a computer or microprocessor to control the logic. It must remain relay logic.

Condition 2. The motor control cannot change. You are not allowed to install a computer controlled VVVF Drive on an elevator that has a resistor type soft start.

(pictured above: 2 Speed Open Panel “Original” Controller Replaced By Newer Style 2 Speed Controller)

Benefits of purchasing a Like for Like controller are really the availability of parts. Without adding microprocessors, which can be obsolete in 10-15 years or solid state motor drives, which also can be obsolete in 10-15 years there’s little that can’t be replaced from a local electrical distributor by your elevator mechanic. This makes swapping out components in the future and making the like for like controller last much longer than any newer elevator controller that runs off a PLC and Solid state drive.

***IMPORTANT: It is imperative that you understand the performance of your elevator, ride quality, etc. will not improve with a like for like replacement.  Only a new solid state elevator controller can provide you that type of improvement.

Also note that on a few like for like controllers we’ve built AHJ’s have actually requested that Fire Service be added to the system as an upgrade. Not a very common request we can add it but this part of the controller MUST be run by a microprocessor so this too is an important item to note when speaking with your AHJ. All relay logic controllers are built with single automatic operation. Full automatic operation is not available.

When considering this kind of project make sure you double check with your local elevator inspector, AHJ to ensure that understand what you are attempting to accomplish.

Contact for more information or ask your elevator maintenance provider to give you a quote.

Tags: ,
Posted in Articles, Elevators - 1900-1930, Elevators - 1931-1950, Elevators - 1951-1970, Elevators - 1971-1990 | No Comments

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

Otis Employee 184…Who Are You?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

I recieved the e-mail below with some great photos. We are in search of whom this may have belonged to. Employee number 184 who are you? If anyone from Otis has older records that might be able to identify who this pin might have been worn by we’d love to hear from you.

Original E-mail:

Tom  ,I finally got around to this. Let me know what you think.  I met up with an Otis  mechanic who knows  some retired Otis mechanics so he is going to show them a pin ,see what they say.  We were thinking maybe from the 1950’s or 60’s .50 cents for a lost pin in the in the30’s 0r 40’s would have been a lot of money.    Let me know . I’m also sending this to a rep at Otis who was at our shop It’s possible they still have a record of the ID # on the badge and who wore it .Current mechanics are in 3 digit numbers now . So that could date them better  possibly.   ……………….Scott


If you’ve got any information at all regarding this pin please comment in the space below. Thanks!

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Elevators - 1931-1950 | 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

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.

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

Elevator Operator Safety Pin

Elevator Operator Safety Pin

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Found this one for sale over on ebay. Currently at 18 bids and $103.80 this one is a hot item. I’m not sure if it’s popular because it’s linked to Studebaker or Elevators, but one thing is certain, it’s a cool piece of elevator memorabilia.

If only this pin could talk, the stories it might tell.

Description of Item: Pre 1954 Studebaker Corporation Employees Badge – Elevator Operator. No 159. “Safety First” “South Bend, Ind”. Excellent condition. Original pin

Tags: ,
Posted in Elevators - 1931-1950 | 1 Comment

Elevator Artwork!

Elevator Artwork!

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Jack Bultman Jr, stopped in recently at C.J. Anderson & Company  and was suprised to have seen an old CJA Car Switch hanging on the wall here in the office. He stopped and said that he had one that looked amazingly similar and that his Dad, Jack Sr, had made a lamp out of it.  Without hesitation I asked Jack to take photographs of it and e-mail them to me.

Along the photos Jack added the following history behind it.


The background for this unique piece was my Dad worked at Lietelt elevator works in Grand Rapids Michigan from 1959 until 1960 building the controllers for Montgomery Elevator. One day the construction Super talked him into going to work for them.

Dave Otten gave me, Jack Jr.,  the fixture in 1996 to give to my dad.  My Dad built the lamp in 1998. When my dad past away in 1999 my mother gave it to me to keep in the family. Underneath it is my dad’s original gang box that Montgomery gave him to work out of. I remember as a kid the thing always being in our garage somewhere piled high with junk. My dad made it into a table as you see there around the same time as the lamp.

All I can say is very cool!  I hope this piece stays in the Bultman family but if you’re ever looking for another home for it please let us know.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Elevators - 1931-1950 | 1 Comment

« Older Entries