The lift from the beginning to now

Archimedes: A body immersed in a lift...
As early as the 3rd century B.C., people felt the need to make lifting heavy loads to heights easier. So they invented the first hoists, predecessors of today’s lifts. The famous scholar Archimedes not only immersed bodies in a liquid, but also constructed the first lift very similar to those that we use today. The cabin was suspended on a hemp rope and was lifted upwards by a hand winch or windlass.

Emperor Nero (37 – 68 A.D.) owned a lift with the first safety element – the possible fall was absorbed by inflated leather bags.

A lift used many years later by a pope in the Vatican was driven by a treadwheel.

The Sun King, Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) is said to have very much disliked climbing stairs. That is also why, in 1743, his court builder Velayer built a lift for him, at that time called a flying chair. He was the first to use a counterweight to balance the lift structure.
In France, nobody but the king was allowed to build a lift.

The first lift in a residential house was probably the lift of Erhard Weigel built in Jena in 1670.

So all predecessors of today’s lift were driven by human or animal force.

                                                   konrad keyser  lidsky pohon 
The important milestone, not only for lift construction, was the Industrial Revolution. The invention of the steam engine is considered its symbol. And it was utilized appropriately in the field of lift construction.
Englishmen Frost and Strutt built the first steam driven lift in Derby in 1830.

Pneumatic, hydraulic, and others

The first pneumatic lift was invented in 1845 and a year later the first lift with a hydraulic drive was put into operation. The piston was inserted in an underground cylinder and liquid (water at that time, hydraulic oil today) was injected into the cylinder. Through the pressure of the water, the piston was raised and lowered and thus also the lift moved. The flow of water was controlled by the operator of the rope designated to regulate the water flow. Hydraulic lifts were lifted by the piston rod located under the lift cabin, so they did not need counterweights or safety devices – the lift cabin descended by gravity and only at such speed at which the water was discharged from under the piston. Such a lift was installed in the emperor’s palace in Vienna. Later control by ropes was replaced with lever control which was more accurate and smoother.

                                                                               vodni vytah         hydraulicky vytah   

Look for Otis behind everything
The era of the modern lift was started in 1853 by a lift inventor using a rope, pulley and weight. This lift lifted loads along the shaft wall. So the lift took the form of today’s construction: on the sides it was guided by guides and it had a safety device, so-called catchers which braked the lift cabin if the rope broke.
The man behind this invention was Elisha G. Otis who is now a lift legend.
Otis’ lift was naturally much more powerful than its predecessors and was first installed in New York’s Crystal Palace, where it serviced two storeys, and later (in 1857) in the department store E. V. Haughwout Co. in New York. It serviced 5 storeys at a speed of 0.2 m/s, which was an unprecedented speed at that time. (For comparison, today’s lifts travel at a usual speed of up to 2.5 m/s, the fastest lift in the world in Burj Khalifa Tower, Dubai travels at a speed of 18 m/s, which is 65 km/h.)

         elisha-otis    ElevatorPatentOtis1861    otis-vynalez

Mr. Siemens’s lift
In 1880, German electrician and entrepreneur Werner von Siemens installed an electrically driven lift at the industrial exhibition in Mannheim. His lift had the electric motor located directly under the floor and it turned a geared pinion which then moved on a racked bar.
With the development of technology, the motor moved above the top storey where it drove a cable drum. So the cabin was again suspended on a cable.
However, finally such a solution prevailed that the cable was put over a cable pulley where there is a cabin cable on one side and a counterweight on the other (so-called geared or traction lifts). This solution offered the old/new use of counterweight. This saved energy and it was possible to use lifts in high-rise buildings. Drum lifts could not be used there – due to the cable length, these drums would have reached unacceptable dimensions.
In 1903, the electric lift replaced toothed gears and allowed transportation of loads up to 100 storeys. The original single-speed motors were replaced with multi-speed motors and the electromagnet technology replaced manual switching and braking. The lifts were equipped with control buttons and signal systems.

                                     siemens   siemens vytah  siemens motor  woolworth

What was the situation in the Czech lands?
The first (freight) lift was constructed by a company in Ústí nad Labem called Breitfeld-Daněk (one of the predecessors of ČKD) in the brewery in Litoměrice in 1876. Later this company also dealt with the construction of, in particular, freight lifts for large industrial companies.
Names such as Jan Prokopec, A. Bílek and Edvard Schliegl are associated with the beginnings of lift construction in the Czech lands.

The lift as a royal matter
The first electrical lift with button control was used in the Modrá hvězda hotel in Prague.
Also the successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand d’Este, had a lift built in his seat at Konopiště Castle.
The fact that lifts were a royal matter in the past can also be proven, apart from Louis XIV’s and Franz Ferdinand d’Este’s aversion to stairs, by finding remnants of one of the first lifts in this country at the castle in Ploskovice (dated back to the 1720s). At the same time as the lift in Ploskovice, a lift was built in Zákupy for the needs of Ferdinand V. Dobrotivý – it is the oldest preserved lift in the Czech lands.
A unique predecessor of the dining lift was preserved in the Belaria summer-house in the garden of Český Krumlov castle. The prepared food was transported by this mechanism directly to the middle of the banquet table.

   Konopiste-vytah  konopiste-ovladani  kabina zakupy strojovna zakupy 




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