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The first public escalator

Posted in Anniversary, Technology on Thursday, 23 September 2010

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picture, The moving stairway, elevator

Inside a moving stairway

4 October marks the anniversary of the opening of the first public escalator at Earls Court underground station in 1911. The idea for a moving stairway was not new: a patent was granted for a system as early as 1859. The idea did not catch on until the 1890s when Jesse Wilford Reno installed an ‘inclined elevator’ at Coney Island, New York.

In the UK, the first moving staircase was installed at Harrods in Knightsbridge in 1898, and unnerved customers  to the department store were met by employees of the shop dispensing free smelling salts and cognac to help them over the experience.

More pictures of escalators can be found here. Many more illustrations featuring the more common and less mobile form of staircase can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

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