A Brief History of Lift Safety Devices 1835-1935

Lee Gray

Wednesday 22nd September 2021

The history of lift technology is, essentially, the history of lift safety devices. Passenger safety has always been a primary focus of the lift industry and all aspects of lift technology are typically designed with regard to safety. For over 175 years the invention of safety devices has followed a developmental pattern predicated on an assessment of risk, the needs of different lift types, lessons learned from actual lift operation, and changes in lift systems and technologies. Critical safety concerns have included rope failure, overspeed, access to lift cars and shafts, automatic door operation, and leveling. This paper will offer a chronological outline of the development of lift safety devices and will, when possible, link the appearance of a given safety device to a specific cause, determining factor, perceived problem, or change in use. This paper examines the first 100 years of lift safety devices and will reveal that the development of these systems followed both logical and (occasionally) somewhat illogical paths.

Citation information: