Through the Origin and Evolution of Escalators

Escalators are the preferred vertical transportation in malls and other public areas, and offer people the advantage of immediate transportation when compared to elevators. The stop and wait times of elevators can often be inconvenient, and discourage people from using them more frequently. With escalators, you could just step on one without waiting or stopping in between. How did the idea of escalator first come up?


History shows that escalators were designed and patented many times before it was actually built. Starting from Nathan Ames, a native of Massachussets, who produced and patented a drawing of a moving staircase in 1859, the escalator has been thought about and sketched multiple times. In the following decades, similar concepts were produced by Leamon Souder, Jesse Reno, and George Wheeler. Wheeler’s designs were bought and built on by Charles Seeberger, who had prepared his own drawings earlier which was closest to the modern escalator. In 1899, when Seeberger joined Otis, his drawing was built into an actual escalator, names after “scala” in Latin which means steps, and the term elevator, owned by Otis themselves.

Gradually, other manufacturers started building moving stairs under various names, as the name escalator was then owned by Otis. Today, the largest global manufacturer of escalator is the Swiss company, Schindler. 

While luggage and trolleys may make escalators more difficult to traverse, it is a great means of quick and easy vertical movement. If you own a commercial building and require vertical access, escalators can do the job. However, elevatoes still provider a safer and more flexible movement through floors. 

Discuss vertical access in your buildings with us today. Contact us at Atlas Elevators for expert design advice and comprehensive solutions!

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Why Tall Buildings Require Sky Lobbies

The elevator technology is what has made super tall buildings a reality. We have the tallest in our neighborhood, with 163 floors. Taking an elevator from the ground floor to the top must be exhausting. Imagine stopping at every other floor! It’s worse when you have to wait too long for one. Increasing the number of elevators on each floor is not a practical solution in buildings like these. That means too many elevators which take up much of the floor space, leaving less usable area. Hence, as expected, elevator system is designed differently for super tall buildings. We had discussed double-decker elevators in our previous post. 


For smooth and efficient vertical transportation in such buildings, the concept of sky lobbies is also used. You may be familiar with sky lobbies if you have visited the Burj Khalifa. Sky lobbies are intermediate floors that vertically divide tall buildings into sub sections for ease of movement. If a person wants to reach a floor beyond the sky lobby without having to stop at the lower floors, he/she takes an express elevator to the sky lobby, and then a local elevator to the desired floor. In this manner, elevators won’t take up a lot of floor space, and the waiting time for elevators is considerably reduced. 

In Burj Khalifa, floors 43, 76, and 123 serve as sky lobbies. These are designed to serve as luxury lounges and other recreational areas. Visitors to the top, especially the observation deck at 148, travel to 123rd floor, and then enjoy an exclusive elevator ride to the top. 

The concept of sky lobbies was first introduced in the 100-storey John Hancock Centre (pictured below, Credit to Wikimedia Commons) built in Chicago as early as 1969. Floor 43 serves as the sky lobby in this tall tower. Visitors are taken to the sky lobby using three express elevators on the ground floor. The remaining floors are again divided into two sets, served by two banks of three elevators each, without a sky lobby in between. 

Atlas Elevators is a pioneer in the vertical transportation industry in Dubai. We can help you implement efficient elevator systems in your buildings following careful planning and design. Contact us for expert advice!

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LEEDing the way to greener elevators- A review of trends

With buildings consuming over 40% of energy globally, we are guilty of contributing the most to an impending environmental crisis. As the statistics came out, corporations, both large and small, were in a hurry to incorporate sustainable features in all their activities. The trend has caught on, and sustainability is being increasingly demanded in the industry in attempts to reduce the damage caused to nature. While a few years ago, using the best quality materials was the chief requirement in building projects, now it has shifted to using best quality materials that are also energy-efficient and naturally resourced. 


About 2-10% of building energy can be credited to elevators. What are the most unsustainable components of elevators? The motor, when used to a limit, starts consuming more power. Hence, it is always advised to change the motor while re-doing your elevator. Special sustainable drives that convert heat generated to usable electrical energy are the latest green invention in the case of sustainable elevators. 

Here is another interesting fact: elevators consume more energy when there are less passengers in it. Appropriately regulating traffic using intelligently programmed systems can create a balance in energy use in such situations. 

Another area where energy consumption is high is lighting. Elevators don’t necessarily need very bright lighting, but you can’t keep them too dim either. Use of energy-saving LEDs are highly recommended. Moreover, instead of using a standard lighting layout for all elevators, it is best to customize lighting based on elevator size, expected traffic, and purpose of building. 

As per LEED criteria for green building rating, sustainable practices should not only be followed in operation, but should also be incorporated in each and every step throughout the lifetime of the elevator. This includes sustainable manufacturing practices, naturally sourced materials, and many other eco-friendly acts. 

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