The first escalator literally blew people's minds! This was the 1800s and nothing of this type had ever been seen before. Steps/stairs were commonplace, had been for centuries. But, moving stairs? That was unheard of.
|Image credit: Brooklyn Museum|
In 1891, Jesse W. Reno envisioned an “Endless Conveyor or Elevator” and patented his idea as the "inclined elevator" on March 15, 1892. In 1896, Reno installed his version of an escalator at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island, New York City as an amusement park ride. Reno's escalator transported riders on a conveyor belt built at a 25-degree angle. It was considered a novelty by the 75,000 people who rode it during its two-week Coney Island exhibition.
The novelty and excitement of riding an escalator was such that in 1897, the first department store in New York City to install one, Frederick Loeser, actually included it in its advertisements, promising customers that they could reach the second floor in a mere 26 seconds!
|The longest escalators in the Western Hemisphere, |
at the Wheaton station, Washington DC Metro
While these early escalators were very popular, they had one major aspect in common: They only went up! It took the public and businesses almost three decades to accept that the far more frightening down escalators were safe to use.
Going up and down!
Looks like something out of a space movie, doesn't it?