Imagine a world where dreams of being transported upwards via a moving staircase was simply that, a dream. Urban mobility would look significantly different today, and be more complicated, had it not been for a man who, while attempting to create New York City’s first double-decker subway, created something even more important.
Over 125 years ago, Jesse Reno invented the first working escalator, which was patented on March 15, 1892. The first escalator, then known as an incline elevator, was installed at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island in New York City on Jan. 16, 1893. The moving stairway elevated passengers on a conveyor belt at a 25-degree angle and traveled only seven feet.
The escalator ran for two weeks at Old Iron Pier before moving to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is estimated that it carried 75,000 passengers during its two weeks at the Old Iron Pier. Today, more than 100 billion people in the U.S. alone use escalators every year.
The technology that Jesse Reno first developed 125 years ago has been perfected by thyssenkrupp and today its solutions are installed around the globe. To put the impact of thyssenkrupp in perspective, if all escalators installed by thyssenkrupp were joined together, they would span more than 300 miles – roughly the distance from New York City to Montreal.
One of its recent installations in North America involved 12 escalators (and 71 elevators) being installed at One World Trade Center in New York, the tallest building in the Americas. Numerous models are available – from an escalator that’s only 350 inches long up to one that measures more than 160 feet. There is even Royal Mode escalators designed for kings and queens to start and stop by simply pressing a button, as well as mobile solutions that are a to-go option and can be carried around the world in airplanes.
The 125 birthday of the escalator is a great occasion for thyssenkrupp to not only celebrate and look back at history, but to look toward the future as well. Moving forward, urbanization demands will require more mobility solutions and, as thyssenkrupp has demonstrated with its rope-less MULTI elevator, it has the engineering acumen to meet those challenges and keep moving people.