Today, we see elevators in people’s homes and hardly give them a second thought. They’ve become a practical and expected part of the scenery in a growing number of homes. But how did these remarkable machines come about? Let’s explore the history of the home elevator and what led to the modern-day version of this helpful invention.
Who Invented the Home Elevator?
C.C. Crispen, who owned Pennsylvania’s first Cadillac dealership, invented the first home elevator. As an early 20th century entrepreneur, Crispen was always looking for ways to make life easier for people. Whether he was selling cars or coming up with new ideas, he helped those around him. Crispen excelled at assisting with ways to travel, and he did so through both the car dealership and, later, the invention that cemented his legacy.
Crispen came up with the idea for the first home elevator in 1923. With a combination of perseverance and determination, he turned the idea into a reality and transformed the possibilities for those with limited mobility.
What Was the Inspiration Behind the Home Elevator Invention?
While he was visiting a neighbor confined to bed during an illness, Crispen was struck by an idea. His friend was stuck upstairs, unable to navigate the stars to get down to the lower level of the house. What if there were an automated device that could transport someone from upstairs to downstairs, for those who couldn’t go up or down themselves?
Among Crispen’s many accomplishments, he had taught himself mechanical engineering. He began working on his concept right away. Soon, he had enough of a concept that he applied for a patent. His initial model consisted of a movable chair that sat on a steel rail. It used the home’s electrical supply to power the seat up and down the stairs. A person could sit on it at the bottom and use the power to get to the top.
Crispen measured the machine to still allow enough space for others to travel on the stairs at the same time. He dubbed the new device “the Inclin-ator” for the way it went up and down the incline. The Philadelphia Electric Company was so impressed that it commissioned the chair for display in its showroom in 1924. Four years later, the Electric Home in Atlantic City, owned by Westinghouse Electric, installed an Inclin-ator.
By 1924, Crispen created a residential elevator with the same idea as the Inclin-ator — providing transportation for people between floors in their homes. He envisioned the “Elevette” for use in homes that had winding staircases, which couldn’t accommodate the Inclin-ator. Other manufacturers quickly picked up on the idea, and soon both stair lifts and residential elevators popped up across the country.
Today, many people use such elevators to age comfortably in their homes or enjoy seamless transportation from one floor to the next. Inclinator continues to be an innovator in the business, which comes from a place of caring. Like Crispen, we want to engineer solutions that make life more comfortable. For your own solutions, contact us online today or call 800-343-9007 to learn more about our services.