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Elisha Otis

From Academic Kids

Elisha Graves Otis (August 3, 1811April 8, 1861) invented a safety device in 1852 that made elevators much safer by preventing them from falling if the hoisting cable failed.

High above the crowd at New York’s Crystal Palace, Elisha Otis thrilled the crowd when he dramatically cut the only rope suspending the platform on which he was standing. The platform dropped a few inches, but then came to a stop. His revolutionary new safety brake had worked, stopping the platform from crashing to the ground. “All safe, gentlemen!” he proclaimed.

From those rather dramatic beginnings, he went on to create the Otis Elevator Company. Mr. Otis sold his first safe elevators in 1853.

The first passenger elevator was installed by Otis in New York in 1857. After Elisha Otis' death in 1861, his sons, Charles and Norton, built on his heritage, creating Otis Brothers & Co. in 1867.


His invention increased public confidence in elevators, which was instrumental in the rise of skyscrapers.

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