Elevators are a staple to modern urban life. The reason why cities can have a booming population and a multitude of skyscrapers are because of the elevator. The elevator allows people to move from floor to floor without the hassle and pain of climbing up a mountain of stairs. While unappreciated for their contribution to urban life, there are a lot of facts and surprises surrounding the elevator from their inception to its innovations to their quantity to even the buttons on the elevator panel board. There is a great source of information available on the Mad Elevator website.

1. The first safe passenger elevator was invented by Elisha Otis in 1857.

While elevators were in use before 1857, they were presented as dangerous and risky until Elisha Otis invented a safety device that prevented the elevator from plunging if its rope broke. The Otis Elevator Company he founded still exists today and supplies the majority of elevators today.

2. The ‘Close Door’ button on the elevator panel board doesn’t actually work.

The ‘Close Door’ button, while present on the elevator panel board, doesn’t actually serve any purpose other than to create the illusion that the elevator door is closing faster when pressed. This can stem from a multitude of reasons such as elevator doors closing automatically to federal laws.

3. The world’s fastest elevator can move 20 meters per second or 72 kilometers per hour.

Located in the Shanghai Tower in the city of Guangzhou, the world’s fastest elevator can move between floors at 20.5 m/s or 73.8 km/h. It is also simultaneously the tallest elevator in a building, standing at 632 meters tall.

4. There are 22 times more elevators than escalators.

There are a million elevators in the U.S. and Canada while there are only 44,000 escalators. Each elevator also averages 5 people per trip with each passenger averaging 4 trips per day for 250 days a year. It adds up to each elevator carrying 20,000 people per year per elevator.

5. Elevators are statistically twenty times safer than escalators.

Elevators, while 22 times more numerous than escalators, only have 1/3 more accidents, which makes them statistically safer. The odds of even getting stuck in an elevator are only 1/100,000 elevator rides.

Elevators have a lot of interesting facts and statistics surrounding their history and use even though many might not realize that. For something so essential to cities, they are seen as an everyday thing by many people. However, elevators, in its ubiquitous nature, have cemented its place in urban life.

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