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Interesting Elevators From Around the World

By Andy Darnley

If you think back to some of the movies you have seen with ancient pyramid-builders using primitive elevators, then you know that elevators have been around for a long time. The elevator as we know it today was invented by Elisha Graves Otis in 1852, and it has developed since then. The concept behind the elevator is relatively simple, but the design of an elevator has to work within the confines of the structure it is servicing. It is this idea of creating an elevator to fit the needs of its users that has resulted in the creation of some of the most interesting elevators the world has ever seen. Sometimes it takes a strong sense of design innovation to make sure that people and items can safely get up and down a structure.

The AquaDom in Berlin, Germany

The AquaDom in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin, Germany, is the largest cylindrical seawater aquarium in the world. The diameter of the aquarium is 36 feet, which makes plenty of room for the elevator that runs right up the middle of the attraction. People from all over the world stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel just to ride the elevator through the midst of its large aquarium. The AquaDom elevator manages to combine functionality with an innovative design to give people a perspective that cannot be found anywhere else.

The Hammetschwand Lift in Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

The Hammetschwand Lift is the largest outdoor elevator in all of Europe. The Lift was built in 1905 and stands 499 feet tall. Passengers board the Hammetschwand Lift through a loading dock found at the base of the elevator, and the ride to the top takes around one minute. The Lift brings in thousands of visitors every year who are willing to brave the unstable sensation the Lift gives each time it ascends to the top. The Lift provides a great view of the lake for pictures, and it also creates a unique sensation as it ascends and descends several times an hour.

The Umeda Hankyu Building in Osaka, Japan

The thing that makes the Umeda Hankyu Building unique is that it is home to more than one unique elevator. Building owner Mitsubishi Electric has installed five elevators that are each the size of a small apartment. Each elevator can hold up to 80 passengers with a maximum weight capacity of 11,547 pounds per elevator. The interior of these elevators measures 11.15 feet wide by 9.2 feet long by 8.5 feet tall. That is a capacity per elevator of 102.58 square feet.

The Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

When you visit the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, you may notice that there are no elevator tubes running through the middle of the hotel or even installed along the walls. That is because the elevators in this hotel are installed in the roof, in tubes that are at 39-degree angles with the floor. There are two reasons why the designers of the Luxor installed the elevators at angles in the roof. The first is to create public gathering areas that were free of elevator structures; the second is to give an amazing view of the Luxor’s large and impressive atrium.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

You may have never given it much thought before, but the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri does not have any elevator shafts that go straight up from the ground to the peak. That is because the elevator in the Gateway Arch is an innovative glass device that goes through the arch up to the top of the 630-foot structure to an observation deck. The elevator is glass to allow visitors to see the inner workings of the arch and to see how the elevator itself works. The Gateway Arch itself is a structural marvel, and the glass elevator helps visitors to learn more about the arch than they ever thought possible.

Bailong Elevator in Hunan, China

The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan, China is where you can find the world-record-holding Bailong Elevator. At 1,070 feet tall, this glass elevator is officially recognized as the largest outdoor elevator in the world. It is anchored against the rocky cliffs found in the forest park, and it welcomes thousands of international visitors every year.

The next time you get in an elevator, you should try to appreciate the technology that goes into making your day a little easier. If you really want to appreciate the engineering that goes into an elevator, then you should make it a point to visit any one of the most interesting elevators the world has to offer.