Who Invented the Elevator?

invented-elevator Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The first records of elevator use trace back to the third century B.C., and the original inventor is unknown. The earliest elevators were primitive and used human, animal or water-wheel power.

In the 19th century, elevators powered by steam became commonplace. In 1823, an "ascending room" powered by steam was built in London by two architects, Hormer and Burton. This was followed in 1835 by two architects named Frost and Stutt who built a primitive elevator that was powered by a combination of steam, counterweights and a belt system. In 1853, Elisha Otis invented and patented an elevator brake, which made elevators safer and paved the way for the development of the skyscraper.