Archive for the ‘Elevators - Pre 1900's’ Category

Photos of Cool Old Elevator

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

These photos were sent to me and are from the Kohler Headquarters in Wisconsin. If you don’t know about the history of Kohler it’s quite interesting.  Click on the following link to learn more.

In addition to Kohler being a pioneer in plumbing fixtures they now have branched out into four separate business groups. Amazing to imagine how popular an enamel iron hog scalder became as it was turned into a bathtub.

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

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

For Sale – 1894 Otis Elevator

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I work with a general contracting company.  We are restoring a 1894 building that has an old Otis elevator.  We are interested in selling the entire elevator if possible.  We are willing to split it up if necessary, though.  Attached you will find pictures of the elevator. 


If anyone is interested in this unique piece please contact Sara at Phoenix of Ohio 740-382-8889.

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Posted in Articles, Elevators - Pre 1900's | 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

Original Haughwout Building Elevator For Sale – 1857

Original Haughwout Building Elevator For Sale – 1857

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Special thanks to Jan for sending this link over. It literally had my mouth hanging down to the floor for a couple of reasons. The first has to do with how much this elevator cab is being sold for, 50K! The second reason for my suprise is the fact that this very may well be the FIRST commerical elevator ever installed in the United States.  If this elevator could talk, the stories it might tell.

I give the seller a lot of credit for putting such a high price tag on it. After all it’s more than just wood cab walls, its a piece of American History.

The actual listing is below. 


Antique Otis Elevator Cab.  Machined East Lake Style.  First commercial elevator in NYC.  Created as a cabinet in approximately 1825, the cab has pretty wood paneling and mirrors within and detail without.  48 x 67 inches.  The cab, a historically and architecturally significant piece of American History, will be gently removed from The Haughwout Building in NYC. The elevator cab was constructed as a piece of custom millwork unlike contemporary cabs that are constructed in individual panels.

I just wish there were more photos to look at.

Posted in Elevators - Pre 1900's | 4 Comments

Butler Indicator or Elevator Indicator?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

indicatorI’ve seen these before, mostly noted as elevator indicators but they seem to complicated to have worked with the types of elevator controllers that were built back around the 1900’s. This one noted to be either a butlers station or elevator indicator posts a date of 1882 which is a long time ago.

Have some information on how these might have worked? Comment below!

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

Mitchell Elevator For Sale

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

See another one out there selling an old elevator. The location of this unit is in Nevada.

I have an elevator from the late 1800’s in my bldg. I have the patents for it too. It is a Mitchell which of course is no longer in business since early 1900’s. It’s in good shape and I have pictures of it are attached. Please contact and we will put you in contact with the seller.


Posted in Elevators - Pre 1900's | 5 Comments

Cool Otis Elevator Patent Print For Sale

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

I’ve seen these on Ebay before but this one is the best looking one I’ve ever seen and for the price you can’t beat it.  If you love elevators and their history you’ll love this print. If for some reason it’s not on Ebay any more contact the seller through this link.

otispatentQuality Reproduction of the
Original US PATENT for the ELEVATOR BRAKE!!!

Invented and Patented by Elisiah OTIS in 1874. This invention of the Elevator Brake made elevators safe and practical for use in high-rise buildings. This is his entire patent reproduced on 8.5″ by 11″ Antiqued Parchment Paper, and includes the Drawing Sheet and 2 Description sheets that describe the invention in full detail.

Own an amazing piece of HISTORY!!! Ready to FRAME!!!

Buy it Now!!!

This is a low resolution scan of the actual document for fast loading. The actual documents are of museum sharpness and quality.

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Posted in Elevators - Pre 1900's | 1 Comment

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