Timeline 1743-1844

  • 1743

    French King Louis XV found vertical transportation, a clever method to ensure privacy from prying eyes. A “flying chair” (in reality it was a small cabin) leads to the third floor of the Versailles Palace where there is the room of his lover. This primeval elevator, created by Blaise-Henri Arnoult, is powered by a rope and uses counterweights and pulleys. The occupant simply has to sit in the cabin and use the rope to raise or lower it as needed.

  • 1764

    James Watt invents the condenser, which improves the efficiency of Newcomen’s machine, the first step towards the steam engine that was perfected and patented in 1765 by James Watt.

  • 1774

    John Wilkinson makes a precision boring machine, which in addition for being used for drilling cannon barrels, is very useful for producing cylinders that are dimensionally more perfect for Watt’s steam machines.

  • 1782

    James Watt invents the double-acting rotary steam engine.

    Watt and partner Matthew Boulton install the first rotary steam engine at a cotton spinning mill in Papplewick, Nottinghamshire

    Watt invents, through a centrifugal regulator, the valve for regulating the speed of steam engines, a valve that can be also found in the first speed governors.

  • 1790

    Russian inventor Ivan Petrovich Kublin installs screw elevators in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and in the Arkhangelskoye Palace near Moscow.

  • 1819

    Hans Christian Ørsted, a Danish physicist and chemist, plays a fundamental role in the electromagnetism understanding. It is in fact he who first discovers that a wire crossed by an electric current generates a magnetic field. Oersted’s law (Oe) is named after him.

  • 1821

    Faraday discovers the fundamentals of electromagnetic rotation.

    His studies are carried out by André-Marie Ampère who enunciated the laws of electromagnetism, in the work published in 1826.

  • 1823

    The architects Decimus Burton and his assistant Hormer build a pantheon in London, 126 feet in diameter and decorated inside with over 2000 tables depicting the view of London. In the center is an “ascending room leading to a 37 meter high platform on which up to 20 paying visitors can discover an exceptional view of London”.

    The ascending room has a lifting mechanism that has been kept secret and of which there is no evidence, most likely it is a primitive hydraulic lifting system.

  • 1826

    Georg Simon Ohm states Ohm’s law on electrical resistance.

  • 1829

    American physicist John Henry builds an early version of the electromagnetic motor

  • 1830

    In the years around 1830 Faraday developed the first electromagnetic generator of electric current (dynamo and alternator). Joseph Henry perfects a particularly powerful electromagnet thus allowing the transmission of electrical energy over great distances. In the same years, Samuel Morse exploited the passage of electricity in a conductor wire as a tool to communicate, leading to the invention of the telegraph with wires, perfected by Charles Wheatstone in collaboration with William Fothergill Cooke.

  • 1830

    Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville, a well-known English politician, writes in his diaries about a trip to Genoa, and a visit to the Durazzo Pallavicini building, in which he describes having seen a cabin capable of carrying people from one floor to another using the steam power. Unfortunately, there is no other information about this lift.

  • 1831

    Continuing research in the electromagnetic field, Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction, the principle behind electric motors. He was also responsible for the enunciation of the electrolysis laws and the invention of the Faraday cage.

  • 1833

    Burgomaster Durrell of Clausthal in the Harz Mountains develops a system whereby men are raised and lowered by a drum driven directly by alternating rods connected to the pistons of a steam engine thereby extending the length of the mine up to 200 meters. Two years later, the depth reached is about 420 meters.

  • 1834

    Wilhelm August Julius Albert invents wire ropes, with strands and wires wound in the same direction.

  • 1835

    Englishman William Barnett patents the ignition of a gas charge by compression. Later he patents a two-stroke engine.

  • 1835

    Frost and Stutt develop, in England, the “Teagle” lift, operated by steam engine by means of a belt and counterweight. Solution much used later for both for hoists and lifts.

  • 1841

    John Roebling introduces wire rope manufacturing to America, primarily for bridges. It is one of the first to supply wire ropes for the elevator industry in 1862.

  • 1844

    Two hydraulic stages are installed in the Vienna State Opera.

  • 1844

    In the Two Sicilies Kingdom, Ferdinand II, who did not have the same aims as Louis XV, commissioned the architect Gaetano Genovese, who avails himself of the collaboration of the pupil Carmelo Garciulo to solve the problem of the Royal Palace of Caserta where it is necessary to climb the 116 steps to reach the upper vestibule from the lower vestibule.

    In 1844 the architect, with the help of the General Superintendence of the Royal House, solved the problem by building his own elevator ante litteram, which he called the flying chair after the French flying chaise, with a cost estimate of 3,335 Ducats to be taken from the found of the Royal House.

    The example of this invention is not the only one in the Royal Palace of Caserta but there were two others, one as a mechanical table built by Francesco Collecini in the Real Estate of Carditello and another made by Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia in the Chinese Palazzina of Palermo, not used for the transport of people but food. So eight years after these inventions (1853), the American Eisha Graves Otis perfected the safety system of the cabin to prevent the violent fall to the ground in case of breakage of the tow rope, a rudimentary system already designed by the Genoese even if with fewer guarantees.