TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Implementation Date of Automatic Elevators?

Implementation Date of Automatic Elevators?
30 Nov 2005 21:40:14 -0800

We tend to forget these days that elevators once had operators.
Pressing the call button displayed a signal in the car and the
operator took the car to the location.

In the 1960 movie "The Apartment", the fancy modern office building
had elevator operators, and one operator figured prominently in the

"The Day The Earth Stood Still" was on tonight (early 1950s) and they
travelled in an automatic elevator. I thought they didn't come out
until the late 1950s.

I remember in some late 1950s buildings the buttons were touch
sensitive, you just touched them (no pressing) and they registered.

Many office buildings and department stores maintained operators well
into the 1970s.

Automatic elevators require some logic, not only to start and stop the
car and position it properly, but also to respond to floor calls and
cabin settings. In office buildings, there was logic to move cars to
meet peak needs, such as up in the morning and down in the afternoon.
That was available by the early 1960s.

The Bell System had a particular model telephone set for elevator use,
designed to squeeze into a box. Today the phones are auto dial
intercoms. They make me nervous because I wonder if someone will
always answer at the other end or a machine will pick up requiring the
pressing of tone keys, obviously not possible on a sealed autodialer

BTW, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" is an excellent movie. Shows how
paranoid people can get.

It was done in B&W and B&W films had to make good use of lighting.
Shadows and texture were very carefully utilized to give film depth
and character, that is something sometimes lost in color.

"The Apartment" is an excellent movie, too. Good satire of bullpen
office life. The office machines may be different, but the atmosphere
hasn't changed much. Good scene of someone using a keyset, the line
buttons lamps worked exactly in relation to the hookswitch, even
flickering a bit when the phone was gently hung up; that's rare.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Michael Quinn: "Re: Security Flaw Allows Wiretaps to be Evaded, Study Finds"
Go to Previous message: Monty Solomon: "Skype 2.0 Offers Free Video Calling"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page