There was a time when the escalators were an exotic element that appeared only in the department stores of the most important cities and that fascinated those who came from outside. The cyclist Pedro Delgado tells in his autobiography how every Christmas he traveled with his family to Madrid and spent hours going up and down those mysterious devices. However, today it is common to see escalators almost anywhere, even on the streets of many cities. It is such an everyday element in our environment that it seems that it does not contain any secret . In Astarlifts we are specialists in the installation of this type of solutions for all types of buildings . We know their characteristics, their benefits, their needs, their specifications, their variations. But we also think that they are an element with a special charm that deserves to devote a bit of our attention . That's why we decided to collect some of the curiosities that you probably did not know about these special devices.
The inventor of escalators
It is difficult to say who was the inventor of the escalators, because several engineers came to the solution very close to each other. It happened at the end of the 19th century, and the fundamental names are those of Nathan Ames, Leamon Souder, Jesse Reno, George Wheeler and Charles Seeberger. All of them patented designs similar to the current escalators so, being generous, we would have to give them the shared paternity of the invention. The first creation of this kind appeared in Coney Island (USA) in the year 1896 . He was on his boardwalk and was called "the inclined elevator". Soon it became wildly popular and attracted a crowd of onlookers.
Why do escalators have brushes?
Surely many times you have wondered why the escalators have brushes on the sides, just where the mechanical element joins the fixed. Even you have been one of those who took the opportunity to polish their shoes there (note: it's a bad idea, because those brushes are usually even dirtier than what is the shoe). Well, the explanation to this curious fact is purely security. And is that the escalators builders decided to incorporate a deterrent right in the place where it was easier to have an accident , that is, at the junction between motion and structure. So they put on rough brushes, which cause them to instinctively move their feet away from them.
Everything follows an order, and the escalators also
The way you situate yourself in the escalators is related to the way you drive in each country . Thus, in nations with British influence, it is appropriate to stick to the left end of the staircase, in order to let users pass more quickly, those who walk up the escalators (a recent study indicates that approximately 25 per cent hundreds of people walk while they are on an escalator). In the rest of the countries, the right thing to do is stick to the right. Interestingly, experiments conducted in cities such as Melbourne or London have indicated that the best average time optimization occurs when the entire escalator is occupied and people climb in pairs of two.
Mechanic stairs? There are many types
Today, companies such as Astarlifts are able to manufacture escalators of many types. From the most conventional to others that challenge the ability of imagination. Surely the most common you have seen a lot of times and do not deserve further attention ... Like the "stairs that are not", that is, the level ramps that rise or allow you to go faster while weight is loaded (as those that always appear in airports). But in places like Japan, for example, all that has been left behind and the curved escalators, in the form of Xs or with a thousand designs to each new one, spread throughout the country, especially in shopping centers. If you add to that the enormous variety of colors, designs and materials with which they can be made, actually, the escalators are much more sophisticated than it might seem at first .
There are also spiral staircases
They are not so common in all places, but there are escalators in the form of a spiral staircase. They are very common in the countries of Southeast Asia (there is a well-known in a park in Hong Kong), and have their origin in an idea dating from 1992.
The oldest escalators still working
The escalators are born, as we have seen, at the end of the 19th century. But the oldest ones still in operation today are obviously a bit more modern. The one that holds the record is an escalator made of wood that can be found in the Macy's shopping center in New York, in its famous Herald Square . This staircase stands out for its style and beauty, with truly spectacular finishes that contrast with its well-proven reliability. In more than a century the damage that it has had is counted on the fingers of one hand and even today tourists and buyers can enjoy a most picturesque and aristocratic experience there.
Immense escalators: when the limit is the sky
One of the most impressive escalators in the world is located in the city of Medellín , more specifically in one of its poorest neighborhoods, called Comuna 13. Medellín is a city surrounded by rough hills, one of which was built Commune 13, which meant that its inhabitants had to walk at least half an hour to leave it to other neighborhoods. At least until 2011, when the government of the city paisa decided to end this situation. First we thought of an elevator, but then we chose the installation of escalators, more comfortable and safer. They are almost 400 meters divided into six segments, which reduce the trip to a very comfortable six minutes. In the other corner of the world, in Hong Kong, there is the longest escalator in the world. It is in the Midi Levels neighborhood, and has no less than 800 meters of total length.
Handrails and steps: different speeds
Surely you have ever noticed that the handrails and steps of escalators go at different speeds. But do you know the reason? It's a bit of security: the handrails are made of materials that wear out over time (usually rubber), and that wear affects their speed. If they were at the same speed as the steps on the first day, with the passage of weeks that speed would be modified, and could lose balance by leaning on the handrail. Therefore, all companies installing escalators, such as Astarlifts, must provide that the handrail is 2% faster than stairs . However, when it is downhill the handrail goes down slower than the stairs, by the same principle.
Also for bicycles
Trondheim is a Norwegian city that has one of the most used means of transport on the bicycle. So great is the enthusiasm in the area that even the Road Cycling World Championship was held in 2017. But beyond the sporting vision, thousands of citizens of this small town use the bike to travel in their day to day. Something that is sometimes extremely complicated given the mountainous nature of the city, with impossible slopes and hills everywhere. The most outstanding is the Cuesta de Brubakken, a huge wall that has been a challenge for cyclists in the city for years, and very few managed to get to the top without landing ... Until they installed a particular and very original escalator that It consists of a footboard in which the cyclist can support the foot and get to the top of the hill without problems. The system is so useful that many other cities in the world are already implementing it for their own "asphalt hells".
The strangest escalators in the world
Those bicycle escalators are not the only ones scattered around the world that can be considered strange. On the contrary, many of the creations that appear here and there surprise by original ... and striking. Like the escalators that go under the sea, and that can be found in the Hualien Farglory Park, in Taiwan. The vertiginous sensation of ascending from the depths of the sea while surrounded by sharks or rays is really impressive, and you can live intensely thanks to the glazed dome that covers them.
Of course, if it's about going up from very, very low, nothing better than going to Moscow, to your subway. Specifically to the Pobedy Park Station, which is the equivalent of 28 floors underground. The escalator that leaves from there (one of the sections is the longest in Europe) takes more than three minutes to make the journey ... There are also "physical" stairs but they are only recommended for the most athletic.
The world of escalators is more interesting than you might think!