The History of the Escalator

David A Cooper

Thursday 1st October 1998

In 1859 Nathan Ames registered the first patent for an escalator. He was ahead of his time as the first production electric motors didn’t arrive until the 1870’s. His efforts were followed in the late 1880s by Seeburger, Reno, Halle, Wheeler, and Dodge. Escalator was a name coined by Seeburger being a combination of scala (steps) and elevates (to raise). At one state Otis had the monopoly of the escalator industry and was the only company allowed to spell escalator with a capital ‘E’. In 1911, London Underground installed its first escalator. The fascinating history of escalators is looked at from its invention in 1859 to the present day.

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