Official DIHEF Community for Women and Young Girls
The word escalator was coined by combining the Latin word for steps — “scala” — with the word “elevator.” The term remained a registered trademark of the company until 1950, when the U.S. Patent Office ruled it was in the public domain since escalator had become the generic name for a moving stairway. Finding a Escalator Company solution Designing a safe transition point — where passengers step on and off the escalator — was one of the major problems in creating a successful moving stairway. Anumber of methods had been attempted before Otis solved the problem. In one earlier design, as the moving steps reached the upper landing, they disappeared under a “V” shunt. The purpose of the shunt was to literally shove passengers off the stairs and onto the landing. This required them to take an awkward sidestep with one foot while the
other foot was still traveling forward. This called for considerable concentration and coordination on the part of the passengers — a difficult enough feat at the best of times, much less when one was burdened with parcels or attending small children. Another alternative was a system that employed a series of comb- like prongs that lifted the passengers’ feet off the treads when they reached the top. The prongs were designed to mesh with the treadcleats at the end of the ascending and descending runs. This was animprovement over the awkward “V” shunt system, but the 30–40 cm(12-16 in) prongs still posed a hazard. Passengers were tempted toleap over the approaching prongs rather than risk being scooped off.Neither the awkward “V” shunt system nor the pronged-comb solu-tion was practical for the majority of users.
More recently, Otis introduced an innovative deflector device that features nylon bristles to gently guide passengers away from the gap between the skirt panel and the moving tread, adding a measurable degree of safety. Under-step lighting and directional markers were also added to the landings to alert passengers to the transition point. Speeds Many of the early escalator sales were made to major department stores, installed for the convenience of their customers. These esca- lators traveled at speeds that ranged from between 24–30 meters (80-100 ft) per minute. Otis standardized the rate to 27 meters (90 ft) per minute, fast enough to provide rapid travel from one level toanother while still being leisurely enough for customers in a depart-ment store to survey the merchandise on the sales floor.Today, most Otis Building Elevator operate at a speed of 30 meters (100 ft)per minute. This is still slow enough to allow easy transition whileserving the demand for rapid conveyance.