Skip to content

The escalator is a staple in our lives and a technology most of us take for granted. Even though it has been around since 1893 there are still dangers associated with the moving stairs. With National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week approaching we wanted to round up some facts you probably didn’t know. Even if you are in the Elevating industry we guarantee you will be surprised by one or two of these.

  1. One of the first escalators built was for the purpose of amusement. It was originally designed and installed as a novelty ride at Coney Island in 1893. Riders would straddle the railing and ride up the “moving stairs” at a 25-degree angle.
  1. In 1899 the Otis Elevator Company produced the first commercial escalator in North America, making them the oldest escalator manufacturer.
  1. The longest individual escalators in the world are installed deep underground in the stations of the Saint Petersburg Metro.
  1. The shortest escalator in the world is the “Puchicalator” in a shopping mall in Kawasaki Japan. It has only five steps and a vertical rise of 83 cm.
  1. The escalators at all New Delhi metro stations in India are equipped with ‘sari guards.’ This feature prevents loose clothing from getting trapped in the escalators.
  1. The first escalator installed in Canada was in Toronto at the T. Eaton Co department store in 1904. The Toronto Daily Star promoted the new novelty by saying “No waits for the elevator now; a customer simply steps on the ‘escalator,’ as it is called and up he goes.”
  1. The word “escalator” was originally trademarked by Otis Elevators Company, and as a result, some of the earlier American manufacturers of escalators had to come up with some more creative names. Some of them were: Motor Stairs, Moving Stairs and Electric Stairway.
  1. The Harrods department store in London opened up the first “moving staircase” in 1899 riders were so unnerved by the experience they were offered brandy at the top of the escalator “to revive them after their ordeal.”
  1. In the United States over 245 million people take an escalator daily.
  1. The word escalator is a combination of two words: ‘elevator’ and ‘scala’ (the Latin word for steps.)

How many of these did you already know? Comment below and let us know what surprised you the most and share a fact or two we didn’t cover.