Sunday, December 13, 2009

Otis elevator, part 2

Elevator superlatives Otis Elevator Co.'s 2 tallest test towers are located in Bristol, Connecticut (117M) and Shubayama, Japan (154M), but last year Otis competitor Mitsubishi Electric Corp. opened the "world's tallest elevator testing tower" in Inazawa City, Japan (173M). Another Otis competitor, Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp., laid claim in 2005 to the "world's fastest elevator" in Taipei, Taiwan (37.7mph), which can go from the 5th to the 89th floor in 39 seconds.

Elevator uses Usually the elevator - or as the British prefer to call it, the lift - is used to convey people or freight from one floor to another in a building. But occasionally, it has alternative uses. One of these is the propensity of some men to use it is a urinal or couples to use it as their bedroom (not blogworthy, so we'll move on). Space is at such a premium in the U.S. Capitol that a disused elevator is being pressed into service (pardon the pun) as an office!

Elevator etiquette The rules about how to behave in the confined space of an elevator are not unwritten - they are offered on a searchable website or, if you prefer, as 10 Commandments. Should you wish to test these rules, here is a list of 50 weird things to do in an elevator.

Elevator safety Fear of riding in elevators is not uncommon and is said to be a combination of acrophobia (fear of heights) and claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces). American elevator attendant Betty Lou Oliver has for years held the record of the longest survived elevator fall: 75 stories! She was at her post in the Empire State Building for her last day before retirement when the building was accidentally struck by a B-29 bomber on July 28, 1945. Oliver was badly burned and rescuers decided to lower her via the elevator, but its cables had been weakened to the breaking point. As soon as the doors closed, the cables snapped and she plummeted from the 75th floor to the sub-basement, a height of about 1,000 feet. She was seriously injured by the fall, but returned to the building 5 months later and rode the elevator to the top.

Elevator tragedy Even so-called safety elevators can be a hazard, both during and after installation. Safety is a concern in the industry, in which the death rate for elevator installers and repairers is higher than average for construction workers. Most deaths are caused by falls, followed by being crushed or struck, and - less frequently - by electrocution. A week ago, a South African man was crushed while repairing an elevator with 3 other workers. This fall, the wife of a Wisconsin millwright who was repairing a freight elevator at a GM plant when he fell to his death, was awarded $2.17 million from Schindler Elevator Co. and Minnesota Elevator, Inc. for negligence in not installin guardrails. Elevator and escalator passengers are killed at an average rate of 30 per year, the majority by falling into the shaft. Just last month, a Brooklyn man was killed by a 50' fall, and this spring, a blind New York man was killed by falling into an elevator shaft. This past summer, an 8-year-old Kentucky boy was crushed to death by the elevator at a family wedding. Perhaps the most stunning accident in recent memory occurred at the St. Joseph Christus Hospital in Houston, Texas, in August 2003: Physician's assistant Karen Steinau was on board an elevator when 35-year-old surgical resident Hitoshi Nikaidoh attempted to step in on the 2nd floor. The doors suddenly closed, pinning him at the shoulders and - before Steinau had time to hit the emergency stop button - severing his head above the jaw when the elevator ascended. Steinau spent 20 minutes inside with the doctor's severed head before she was rescued, and had to be treated for shock. Nikaidoh's body was retrieved from the bottom of the shaft. Sadly, a similar decapitation occurred in Brooklyn, New York, in January 1995. James Godfrey Chenault, 55, was one of 5 people who boarded an elevator at the Kingsbridge Center in the Bronx. The elevator malfunctioned, stopping slightly above the 2nd floor. Chenault straddled the doorway and had helped one of the passengers out of the car when it shot upward to the 9th floor, causing his head to remain in the elevator and his body to remain in the shaft. The remaining passengers, one of whom was pregnant, were treated at the hospital for trauma.

Don't think about this post next time you take the lift.


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  3. RIP James Sisco & Bob Reuter & God Bless.


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