A History of the Lift Safety Gear

David A. Cooper

Wednesday 20th September 2017

The safety gear is regarded as the last line of defence in the relatively safe world of lifts. Industry contemporaries recall Elisha Otis declaring “All safe” after cutting the ropes on a platform upon which he was standing and the safety gear preventing his uncontrolled descent. The design of safety gears has moved on significantly from an original proposal to place a bag of feathers in the lift pit to designs that now arrest uncontrolled movement in ascent. This paper is a developing research project which will look at UK patents and standards, and tracks the development of the safety gear from the embryonic days of lift installations to the present day. It will contribute to knowledge by bringing together a number of sources of information not previously brought together into a single paper and thus provide a consolidated history of the safety gear.

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