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The word elevator has three meanings. Elevators are transportation devices for moving goods or people vertically. A grain elevator is a building. Elevators are also control surfaces in aircraft.

Elevators for transport Elevators began as simple rope or chain hoists[?]. An elevator consists of a cab or platform, the ropes required to raise and lower it and machinery to move the rope. Later refinements included steam power and hydraulic power. In 1853 Elisha Otis[?] introduced the safety elevator which prevented the fall of the cab if the cable broke and on March 23, 1857 his first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway in New York City. Electric elevators began in the 1880's. The development of elevators allowed easy access for taller buildings and skyscrapers, without elevators the modern skyscrapper would never have existed.

There are generally two types of elevators:

Cable Elevators operate using a counterweight that allows the elevator to easily be pulled up or down using cables attached to the roof of the elevator car.

Hydraulic Elevators are not as common, they use a hydraulically power ram to push the elevator upwards.

Difference between American and British English: in British English, elevators are known more commonly as lifts, although the word elevator is not as uncommon as to be misunderstood.

A different kind of elevator is used to transport material. It generally consists of an inclined plane on which a conveyor belt runs. Often partitions on the conveyor are included to prevent the material from sliding backwards. These elevators are often used in industrial and agricultural applications.

Aircraft elevators Elevators are control surfaces on the wings of aircraft which control vertical ascent by changing the lift profile of the wing. The Wright Brothers' early aircraft worked by actually changing the shape of the entire wing, today only a relatively small portion of the trailing edge of the wing is moved.

See also: Grain elevator, Elevator music

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