Annotated Bibliography

Christ, Wolfgang. Access for all. Springer, 2009.

Discussion on how elevators changed buildings socially and architecturally. There is also a good discussion on what the impact of Otis’ invention was and later inventions to affect the elevator.

American architect and architecture. The American Architect, 1895.

This is a primary source of architectural topics from 1895 that discusses the history of the Otis Elevator Company and why Otis elevators are so successful.

Birkmire, William Harvey. Architectural iron and steel: and its application in the construction of buildings … with specifications of ironwork. And selected papers in relation to ironwork, from a revision of the present law before the Legislature affecting public interests in the city of New York … Tables … of the properties of beams, channels … etc. Wiley, 1891.

A source from 1891 that shows how the elevator had evolved from a crude piece of technology into a piece of art and design.

Architects, American Institute of. Architectural record. McGraw-Hill, 1908.

A 1908 source that has advertisements from the early 20th century for Otis Elevators and shows their dominance of the market, although it also shows 2 competitors.

Architecture and building: a journal of investment and construction. W. T. Comstock, 1910.

A 1910 source similar to the architectural record catalogues, but this has costs for Otis Elevators in stores or manufacturing places. There are also more advertisements, such as one describing how many Otis Elevators are in the “New Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal.” There are descriptions of ornate homes with modern elements, elegant decorations, and Otis Elevators

McAfee, R. Preston. Competitive solutions: the strategist’s toolkit. Princeton University Press, 2005.

A book discussing Elisha Otis’ patent strategy, and it discusses the fact that Otis did not invent the elevator.

College, Wexford. Elevator Design, Construction and Maintenance (1905). Watchmaker Publishing, 2003.

A great source describing how various aspects of Otis Elevators work including the improvements of safety devices, electricity, alternating current, anti-rust oils, and hydraulics.

Kirby, Richard Shelton. Engineering in history. Courier Dover Publications, 1990.

A decent source describing Elisha Otis’ invention and success.

“HABOLD WATERS,” May 19, 1925.

Sadly, there is no digitized version of Elisha Otis’ original patent, but there are multiple patents of competitors and employees of the Otis Elevator Company that show the innovation that stemmed from Otis’ safety device.

Scharf, John Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County: from the earliest periods to the present day: including biographical sketches of representative men. L. H. Everts, 1883.

This source discusses the antecedents of the passenger elevator, the grain elevator, in Missouri.

Robinson, Henry. Hydraulic power and hydraulic machinery. C. Griffin and Company, limited, 1887.

This book discusses hydraulic power and machinery. A specific sections focuses on the “Otis Standard Hydraulic Elevator.”

Winston Weisman. “New York and the Problem of the First Skyscraper.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 12, no. 1 (March 1, 1953): 13-21.

This article discusses how elevators allowed corporation buildings to increase in height making them look more affluent and successful. Although the elevator is not an Otis, the rise of the elevator is due to the safety measures invented by Otis.

Amato, Joseph Anthony. On Foot: A History of Walking. New York: New York University Press, 2004.

A book that discusses the effect of elevators on the urban experience of people.

“Otis Worldwide | A Visual Timeline,” n.d.

This is a great resource for understanding the basic history of Elisha Otis and his invention.

Magazines, Hearst. Popular Mechanics. Hearst Magazines, 1935.

A Popular Mechanics article that has a play by play of Elisha Otis’ demonstration at the World’s Fair. There is also a good description that discusses how the safety mechanism works in laymen’s terms.

Douglas, George H. Skyscrapers: A Social History of the Very Tall Building in America. McFarland, 2004.  A book that describes the social history of skyscrapers with a section dedicated to the effects of the Otis Elevator and its later improvements.

Korom, Joseph J. The American skyscraper, 1850-1940: a celebration of height. Branden Books, 2008.

This book has good discussions of the advantages and disadvantages to various elevator technologies as well as competitors. It is also full of references to buildings with Otis elevators in the early times.

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