Elevators travel under their own, self-contained power in a system upon which a New York inventor has just received a patent. Each car is suspended from a hollow drum containing a driving motor. Under control of the operator, the drum revolves and climbs a vertical series of rollers by means of a worm on its exterior, as shown in the diagrams. Reaching the top of its endless shaft, the drum inverts itself and starts down the other side, the elevator car remaining upright meanwhile. Advantages of the new system, the inventor declares, are that extra cars may be used during rush hours and withdrawn when not needed; also, that the system removes present restrictions that limit the height of elevator shafts.

  1. Benzene says: April 17, 200810:42 am

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just reverse the direction the drum turns when it needs to go down? You’d be able to reuse the old cable-driven elevator shafts, at least.

  2. Myles says: April 17, 200811:52 am

    It is a clever idea for a propulsion system. It would depend on how much power it uses compared to other systems. I do not get how adding more than one car to the same shaft could ever work – the two cars would need to be able to pass each other.

  3. Myles says: April 17, 200811:54 am

    Oh – I see, never mind 🙂 This system would probably take way to much energy as there does not seem to be a counterweight.

  4. jayessell says: April 17, 200812:15 pm

    Interesting idea.
    The elevator shaft doesn’t have to be vertical and
    doesn’t have to be in the center of the building.

    Are there any two axis elevators, real or proposed?

  5. Thundercat says: April 17, 200812:52 pm

    I’m not sure if these count, but the elevator that goes up the Eiffel tower, the one that goes up the St. Louis Arch, and the elevators at the Luxor in Las Vegas all move horizontally as well as they move up and down.

  6. Charlie says: April 17, 200812:55 pm

    I know that Otis had designed a vertical/horizontal elevator called the Odyssey during the 90’s. Not sure what happened with it.

  7. Rick Auricchio says: April 17, 20088:18 pm

    A paternoster is a two-shaft elevator. See…

  8. Peter says: April 28, 20085:31 pm

    There is one of these installed in the New York Hall of Science, in the part of the building that dates from the World’s Fair. When I worked there a few years ago employees would avoid it like the plague as you were more likely to get stuck then to make it your destination.

  9. Akinato says: December 28, 20083:22 pm

    As a “Wall Trolley” fan myself, I am interested in the unusual lifts. (Not the hum-drumm ordinary boring enclosed boxes that most indeed are — probably mainly due to financial restrictions). I am into the unusual, the highest, clear glass lifts, open cage lifts (what are indeed left), also ones that travel off of the strictly vertical plane, etc.

    Now, I would like to know as I am Japanese/Swiss, we in Switzerland have some of these Pasternoster lifts. (There is one on Gerichtigkeitsgasse in Bern for sure). In America and in Japan, are there any Pasternosterlifts that are currently PUBLICLY accessable?

    Other news, the first outdoor observation lift in America (1956 – 1986) the “Starlight Express” also in its 3 decades of operation was the highest ram type lift on the planet (50+-m height)! It was the only lift that I know of that had a ram the diametre of 30.5cm)! That was at the (now former) El Cortez Hotel in San Diego, CA. The building went under “restoration” to its 1927 past and as it is now part of a condominia complex, the lift has been completely taken out! Shame! (That should have remained and registered as a national historic landmark! But too late now! Thanks!

  10. Charlie says: December 28, 20083:28 pm

    Funny, I almost rented an apartment in the El Cortez when I moved to SD.

  11. Akinato says: December 28, 20083:30 pm

    Akinato again. I am rather curious. Upon searching the web, I have not been able to come across any “wall trolley” fan groups or clubs. Do such really exist? If there is somewhere on this planet an elevator and escalator fan group, PLEASE let me know! (Otherwise, I will have to try and start one myself)!

  12. Akinato says: March 27, 20118:31 am

    Interesting concept. To bad the one in existence at the Hallof Science is for employees only! I would love to ride it myself! But that’s America today. very restricted (especially for the unusual)! I suppose the general public is allowed only to ride the conventional boring lifts (with few exceptions that do offer windows to see out whilst riding.

    America used to be an enginuious country, but today people are “boxed” in preconceived conventions that no longer offer innovation! That is a shame! (Over 50% of revolving restaurants for example are now defunct of only avaliable to the ritzy wealthy elite for private receptions or parties). I suppose that the observation lift in present and future architectural designs are a thing of the past (especialy the clear windowed ones), it appears that all one wants to do today is text and stick ipods in their ears! How boring!

  13. John says: March 27, 20118:46 am

    Akinato: America is still an “ingenious” country (I think that’s what you meant to spell). Your example of rotating restaurants doesn’t hold water. Rather than being a conspiracy of the “ritzy wealthy elite” its just a case of closing due to market forces. They were a fad in this country kind of like shag carpeting and avocado colored household appliances.

    A very good explanation of the spinning restaurant fad has been available since 1998

    Elevators with cables may be boring but their continued use has nothing to do with iPods (nor with the earlier Walkman). They work in getting you up and down the building and that’s why we have elevators.

    If indeed as you say in your unreferenced claim that 50% of the revolving restaurants are now closed, then the proper question to ask (paraphrasing Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead) is why they were built in the first place?

  14. Toronto says: March 27, 201111:46 am

    It seems like it would be noisy compared to a cable-based elevator.

  15. Jari says: March 28, 20113:48 pm

    Way too many roller bearings on the guide rails to be maintained for my taste. Since when have the rotating restaurants have been the pinnacle of technology?

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