Ladders as means of escape from a burning building may be replaced by a portable elevator invented by M.E. Hayman, a member of the Portland, Ore., fire department. In case of a fire, the elevator is rushed to the scene and by hand or motor power it is raised in front of the desired window. A means of escape is thus provided free of the trembling uncertainty with which a novice trusts himself to a swaying and vibrating ladder.

Firemen can use it, also, to carry them to a point of vantage from which to attack the flames. Obviously, the apparatus could be used by painters or carpenters in place of scaffolding. A large size portable elevator can be raised, according to its inventor, to a height of 200 feet.

The elevator collapses by means of side-pieces, with groove and tongue that fit, which slide into each other and are operated by cables that wind or unwind around a series of drums permanently located in the base. The smaller sizes can be operated by a hand crank on the base, but those designed for use by the fire department will be mounted on a truck and raised and lowered by a motor geared to the crank. Simplicity of design and freedom from unnecessary parts keep the weight of the elevator so low that, even with the largest size, its transportation from place to place is easily accomplished.

  1. Hirudinea says: December 14, 20122:36 pm

    Looks like a scissor lift (although I know its not, I can tell from the picture at the bottom) but I’d rather wash windows on this thing than get rescued from a fire.

  2. Stephen says: December 15, 20125:55 am

    Even now there is no good way to rescue people from the top of a tall building that has caught fire. 200 feet is about 20 storeys, but there are buildings five times taller. The standard procedure is to hope the fire can be kept at bay long enough for them to get out down the stairs. I need not remind you of how badly that can work out.

  3. mcubstead says: December 15, 201212:57 pm

    Perhaps one has a pretty vague definition of portable. I would think a small hook and ladder truck would be as easy to move around as this thing.

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