Selling Lifts in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century

Dr. Lee E. Gray

Wednesday 23rd September 2015

Among the most interesting artifacts associated with the history of lifts are manufacturers’ catalogs. The audiences for these documents included architects, building owners, engineers, and other lift manufacturers. These catalogs typically included detailed descriptions of lift types and individual components, which were accompanied by illustrations and accounts of specific installations. The catalogs also often described normative use patterns, which allows a unique glimpse into the world of late 19th and early 20th Century lift operation. Finally, the advertised critical virtues of lift system were similar to contemporary products: they were described as safe, efficient, and economical. The catalogs examined for this paper include those published by Brady & Thornborough, R. Waygood & Company, Archibald Smith & Stevens, William Wadsworth & Sons, Ltd., and H. Breakell & Co. (Blackburn) Ltd.

Citation information: