Information on an Old Elevator : LUSENET : Elevator Problem Discussion : One Thread

We have an elevator in a circa 1852 building that apparently ran off the factory's water-powered shafting. The brand name on the elevator is Lane and Bodley, Cincinnatti, Ohio. We have found little info on this type elevator. We found references to factory hoists driven by factory power (water or steam) in the mid-19th century edition of Appleton's Cyclopedia, but nothing else. Your assistance would be appreciated. The elevator remains fully intact in the Continental Eagle [cotton gin manufacturing] company in Prattville, AL. -L.B. Lands Historian Historic American Engineering Record/National Park Service 334-361-0214 L.B. Lands

-- L.B. Lands (, August 04, 1997


Old Elevator

Need more info. Was it traction (ropes)? Was it hydraulic (piston in pit)? Was it water hydraulic (tank above elevator)? Was it a screwlift (screw in shaft)? And in the turn of the century the British actually used the Thames River to harnass this hydraulic power and would even alter the teraine and roads to increase water pressure which was a new energy just as electricity. So some lifts from the turn of the century were completely hydraulically fed, not electrically. Even when traction machines were developed, they were often driven by gas engines, steam turbines and even 4 stroke engines. steam turbines


-- Joe McLoone (JMclo30547), November 10, 1997.

The implication is that the elevator power was derived from a line shaft, powered by water.

In these arrangements, some souce of power (water, steam engine, etc.) rotated a long shaft running through a building. Power was taken from the shaft at various points to drive other devices (a lathe, drill, elevator, whatever). The usual method was a belt (typically leather in this era).

For an elevator, the belt rotated a drum upon which the hoist ropes were wound. A shifter mechanism operated by a hand rope engaged, disengaged and reversed the direction of rotation(via a crossover belt). This was called shifter rope operation.

An illustration and detailed explanation appears in F.A. Annett's book "Elevators" (third Edition, pp 1-3)

-- John Brannon (, March 19, 1999.

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