Category Archives: Commercial Elevators

Rules of Elevator Etiquette

elevator etiquette tipsElevators can be uncomfortable places for many people. With strangers so close to each other, people who don’t know etiquette can make rides awkward. The next time you ride in an elevator, be sure to follow these tips to make the ride as pleasant as possible for you and your fellow passengers.

• People should exit the elevator as quickly as possible. Be patient and courteous with your fellow passengers, especially those with limited mobility.

• No matter how long you have been waiting, wait until everyone who needs to get off the elevator has exited before you try to enter.

• If the elevator is getting crowded, wait for the next one.

• Always face forward, unless you are speaking to someone. In that case, you can angle your body, but don’t stand facing everyone else in the elevator.

• It is generally believed, although not universally required, that the person closest to the buttons should ask the other passengers their destination floors and press the appropriate buttons.

• If you are carrying a backpack or large bag, hold it in front of you.

• Don’t try to be a comedian. No one will appreciate corny elevator jokes.

• If you feel a need to strike up a conversation with your fellow passengers, or if someone wants to talk to you, be prepared to discuss some general interest topics (not the weather). You can try local sports, non-political news, inoffensive workplace topics, or something related to your apartment building.

• If you have something important to discuss with your boss or a coworker, don’t do it in the elevator. Schedule a meeting or send an email.

• If someone breaks one of these rules, don’t get upset. Just smile or try to laugh and don’t let it get to you.

• If you have any doubts about whether a comment or behavior would be appropriate, keep it to yourself or wait until the elevator ride is over.

The Decline of Paternoster Elevators

paternoster elevatorPaternosters are old-fashioned elevators that were once popular throughout Europe. They consist of two side-by-side elevator shafts and a chain of compartments. The shafts and compartments do not have doors. The compartments move continuously on an endless belt, similar to the way a Ferris wheel operates. The compartments go up one shaft and down the other. If a person stays in a compartment after it reaches the last floor in a building, it keeps going around and up or down the other shaft.

The name “paternoster” is derived from the Latin words for “our father.” These are the first two words in the Lord’s Prayer and refer to the way the elevator’s compartments move like a string of rosary beads in a person’s hand.

The paternoster was invented by Peter Ellis, a Liverpool architect, in the 1860s. The elevators used to be fairly common. All department stores in Germany used to have them, and there were many others in the country. There were approximately 70 in the Czech Republic in 2006. Many paternosters in England and other European countries were shut down in the second half of the 1900s due to safety concerns. They remained common in the Czech Republic, but some were taken out of service in the 1990s.

Some paternosters are still operating and open to the public. Several can be ridden in Prague, and private tours of the city’s paternosters are even available. Some are located at the office building U Novaku, the financial directorate (tax office), city council building, and Prague 7 council building. Germany still has a fair number of paternosters, but many are closed to the public. A European directive prohibits the construction of new paternosters.

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