Category Archives: Custom Elevators

Trump Hotel Chicago Decorates Elevator for Christmas

Trump Hotel Chicago Gingerbread Express elevatorThe Trump Hotel Chicago gets into the Christmas spirit every year by transforming one of its elevators into the Gingerbread Express. Teams of pastry chefs and engineers work for months to bake gingerbread bricks and decorate the elevator that transports guests to the restaurant Sixteen.

The Gingerbread Express is made from 445 pounds of all-purpose flour, 5.5 pounds of cinnamon, 3.25 pounds of ground ginger, 230 pounds of dark corn syrup, 105 pounds of dark brown sugar, 90.5 pounds of molasses, 98 pounds of butter, 50 pounds of chocolate, and 46 pounds of fondant. Workers at the hotel begin baking gingerbread bricks in September. They finish making about 800 5” x 10” gingerbread bricks by November 1 and then decorate them with colored candy sugar, chocolate, and cocoa butter spray.

An engineering team builds a plywood wall inside the elevator to which the gingerbread bricks are glued. They install lights around the window, LED lights for the stained glass gingerbread bricks, and a toy train.

Two weeks before the Gingerbread Express opens, the team begins laying the gingerbread bricks using a method similar to the way bathroom tile is laid. Spacers are placed between the bricks and removed after they dry. Then the cavities are filled with frosting. After the workers have finished laying the gingerbread bricks inside the elevator, employees set to work on the outside of the elevator in the lobby.

It takes the hotel’s pastry team 450 hours to complete the Gingerbread Express. They do the work in addition to their normal duties.

The Gingerbread Express elevator delights both children and adults every holiday season. Visitors to the hotel can ride the elevator through the end of the year.

Riding the elevator is free. The Gingerbread Express is a way for the hotel to raise awareness and donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The hotel and the Eric Trump Foundation support the hospital and accept donations at the front desk.

How Would Thoth Technology’s Space Elevator Work?

ThothX TowerThoth Technology, a Canadian aerospace and defense firm, was granted a patent this summer for an elevator that could transport people and payloads into low earth orbit.

The ThothX Tower would have a hollow 20-kilometer shaft/core stacked with washers 300 meters in diameter. The washers would be made of polyethylene and Kevlar and filled with helium or hydrogen. The tower would be constructed one cell at a time and would stand upright. The pressure in the cells would enable it to stand up to external forces, such as wind currents. Heavy gyroscopic flywheels at the base would increase the angular momentum of the elevator’s core.

The tower would have a harmonics control strategy. Software would adjust the pressure in the washers and guide the center of gravity to enable the tower to stand up to even hurricane force winds.

Most of the cells would have a pressure of 100 atmospheres. If a cell needed to be repaired, it would be depressurized. If one cell got damaged and lost pressure, the tower would not collapse because of the modular nature of the cells.

The seams in the cells would be closed with the same technology used in rockets and sailing vessels. A weave would be applied over the surface of the seams and then heat-cured to bind it.

The elevator would be powered by electrical charge and frictional contact. The elevator cars would be attached to the tower by electrical attraction. A frictional wheel would grip the tower and guide the cars along a corkscrew path. Each time a car passed down the shaft, the tower would be recharged. Energy transfer might also occur when two cars passed each other.

The ThothX Tower would be able to lift up to 10,000 kilograms of parts. Spacecraft could launch from its platform in one stage and return to the top of the tower to refuel. This would use much less energy than what is required to launch a rocket from the Earth’s surface.

The tower could be used for tourism. It could also significantly reduce the amount of time required to travel around the world.

Thoth is planning to build a proof-of-concept demonstration tower 1.5 kilometers tall in the next three to five years at a cost of about $1 billion. The company hopes to build a 20-kilometer tower three to five years after that at a cost of $5 to $10 billion.

Pink Elevators Raise Breast Cancer Awareness and Funding

pink elevator breast cancerOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Metro Elevator Co. Inc. is raising money to support Susan G. Komen in Michigan in its fight to find a cure for breast cancer.

The company is raising funds through its fifth “Ride the Pink Elevator” campaign at 201 Michigan St. NW in Grand Rapids, which is the site of the Rowe Hotel that is currently undergoing renovations. The pink elevator was installed on the west side of the Rowe Hotel.

Triangle Associate Inc., the construction project management team, installed the pink elevator and expects it to remain in place through January 2016. Vice President of Business Development Jim Conner said breast cancer has touched his life and he believes more men need to be aware of the disease and take action to fight it.

The goal of the campaign is to raise money and awareness about breast cancer research and treatment. Komen Michigan’s Executive Director Jennifer Jurgens said the group is always looking for new and unique ways to raise awareness and money. Construction workers and companies that are involved in the project are encouraged to donate funds to support breast cancer research and awareness.

This is the third pink elevator to be set up in Michigan to support the foundation. The first was launched in Ann Arbor this year and raised more than $18,000 to support Komen Michigan. The second pink elevator at Central Michigan University raised over $8,000. The Pink Elevator project is expected to be expanded nationwide in the future.

National Association of Elevator Contractors Holds Conference in Boston

National Association of Elevator Contractors conferenceThe National Association of Elevator Contractors is holding its 66th annual conference at the Westin Boston Waterfront & Boston Convention & Exhibition Center from Monday, September 28 to Thursday, October 1, 2015. The event is billed as the largest vertical transportation show in the United States.

Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about elevators and many related subjects. Several topics will be covered in discussions and presentations at the conference this year. Some areas that will be addressed include controlling worker’s compensation costs, implementing an MCP program, machine room-less vs. overhead traction elevators, vertical wheelchair lifts and LULA elevators, the internet of things, and ways to improve customer service.

Attendees will be able to view product demonstrations, receive expert advice, expand their knowledge of the elevator industry, learn about emerging technologies, view over 200 industry exhibits, attend educational sessions, network with others in the industry, and gain an edge over their competitors.

Exhibits will feature the newest products and technology in the elevator industry from the United States and other countries. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with their peers in the industry from around the world.

The National Association of Elevator Contractors’ annual conference is an exciting opportunity for elevator manufacturers, technicians, installers, and others in the vertical lift industry to come together to share information and advice, broaden their knowledge, and expand their ability to succeed in the competitive international elevator market. This event has helped many companies and individuals in the industry expand their knowledge and grow and promote their businesses.

Singapore Apartment Building Has ‘Parking Lot in the Sky’

Hamilton Scotts apartments Singapore car elevatorsWealthy residents of luxury apartment buildings in Singapore have a problem: where to park their expensive cars. The Hamilton Scotts residential building in the Asian city-state has come up with a solution. Elevators take cars straight up to apartments and park them in the living rooms.

The “parking lot in the sky” is the building’s standout feature. Residents can transport their cars to their apartments, whether they live on a lower floor, the penthouse, or anywhere in between. The project’s director said the goal was to make a car a part of the living room ensemble, like a piece of furniture.

A resident drives a car into the basement, parks it on a movable metal plate, and enters a code or gives a fingerprint to start the transport process. The car is moved into an elevator shaft that carries it to the appropriate apartment. Each apartment’s sky garage is large enough to house two cars. Residents are not able to ride up to their apartments in their vehicles.

The Hamilton Scotts building was constructed shortly before the 2008 financial crash and soon began to struggle. China-based investment company Reignwood Group took over management of the building in 2013 because it saw long-term potential in the property and the Singapore market. The group wanted to find an iconic building to broaden its name and develop its business. Reignwood Group performed some renovations on the property and added some amenities, such as free breakfast for residents every day.

Hamilton Scotts has 36 floors with 56 units. The building is currently 70 percent occupied. Prices for a 2,755-square-foot apartment start at $10 million.

Singapore’s luxury real estate sector is still struggling. Prices are 20 to 30 percent below their peaks in 2007, even though Singapore has the highest per capita GDP in the world and 10 percent of households contain a millionaire. Luxury real estate prices in Singapore are less than half of those in Hong Kong. Members of the real estate sector believe this is due to government policies and a glut of supply.

Giant Aquarium Has an Elevator Inside It

AquaDom aquarium elevatorMany people find it relaxing to watch fish swimming in an aquarium. The AquaDom in Germany takes the traditional fish tank to a whole new level.

The AquaDom is a massive aquarium located inside the Sea Life Center under a Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin. It has a diameter of 36 feet, and the foundation is 30 feet tall. The aquarium is 82 feet high and holds over 260,000 gallons of water. The AquaDom is the largest acrylic cylindrical aquarium in the world by volume. A glass elevator runs up and down right through the center of the tank.

The AquaDom is home to 1,500 fish from 97 species. Visitors can watch as the fish in the aquarium are given 18 pounds of food every day at 2 p.m. The aquarium needs to be cleaned by divers three or four times a day.

The AquaDom was built by Union Investment Real Estate GmbH. The acrylic cylinder for the aquarium was constructed by International Concept Management, Inc., an American company. Twelve sets of panels for the outside cylinder were sent from the factory and assembled on-site. To make the inside cylinder, three sections of five panels each were bonded together near the hotel. The tank cost about 12.8 million euros to construct. It was completed in 2004.

Several other water attractions are located under the AquaDom, including a walk-through underwater tunnel and an interactive rock pool. The DomAquaree complex also includes a hotel, offices, a restaurant, and the Sea Life Center aquarium.

Historic Grain Elevators Could Become Community Spaces

grain elevatorsAli Piwowar, who recently earned an architecture degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, would like to see the historic grain elevators that dot Saskatchewan’s landscape converted for public use. She detailed her ideas in her thesis.

Saskatchewan used to have over 3,000 grain elevators. Only 420 are left in the province. Piwowar is concerned that in 20 years they might all be gone. She would like to see them remodeled and used instead of demolished.

Piwowar has been fascinated by grain elevators since she was 10 and her family moved from Ontario, which has no grain elevators, to Regina. She says people have relationships with grain elevators and they ground communities.

Piwowar believes that even though many grain elevators are no longer needed for agriculture, their solid construction means they could be used for other purposes, such as offices, libraries, boutique hotels, or community centers. She says conversions would not be very expensive since most of the structure already exists. She believes converted grain elevators could form the heart of a community and draw in tourists.

Her thesis focused on Indian Head, which used to have more wooden elevators than any other town in North America, but her ideas could be applied to any other community. Indian Head still has two wooden crib grain elevators owned by Paterson Grain that are being used as grain storage bins.

Piwowar believes they could be used for completely different purposes, such as a tourist information center, an events venue, a glass elevator, guest suites, a coffee shop, and a bakery. A new building envelope consisting of a vapor barrier and insulation would be necessary. She also proposes creating a row of elevators on Canadian Pacific’s old Intermodal land that is owned by the city of Regina.

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.

Elevator Restored at Roman Colosseum

Roman Colosseum elevatorDuring the days of the ancient Roman Empire, gladiators and wild animals, including lions, leopards, bears, wolves, ostriches, and deer, fought in the Colosseum for the entertainment of the emperor, members of the court, and the public. Behind the scenes, great organization was required to transport gladiators and animals to the arena for contests.

Twenty-eight manually operated elevators carried gladiators and animals to the Colosseum. The elevators were operated by teams of eight men each. Another two or three were needed to keep the ropes in check. That meant that over 200 people were tasked with transporting gladiators and animals to the Colosseum for fights.

The elevators operated out of sight in an underground labyrinth. They used a system of winches, ropes, and pulleys to transport gladiators and cages with wild animals to the arena. Once they reached the surface, trap doors would open and fighters and the animals would be released.

One elevator and its trap door have been restored and set up under the Amphitheater the way it would have looked during ancient Roman times. The restoration project took 15 months. The elevator is made entirely of wood. It is about eight meters high and five meters wide and weighs over three tons.

Providence Pictures, an American company, approached the Archaeological Superintendency of Rome and proposed creating a documentary on how the circuses at the Roman Colosseum worked. The project included restoring one of the elevators and paying all associated costs. The Superintendency accepted the idea and proposed making the machinery permanent so it could be viewed by visitors.

The documentary by director Gary Glassman is called “Colosseum: Roman Death Trap.” It was produced and distributed in the United States and will soon be available in Italy. The elevator was presented by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on June 5 and was opened to the public a few days later.

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