How Elevators Created the Penthouse

How Elevators Created the PenthouseIt’s hard to imagine life without elevators in this modern age. The convenience and ease with which elevators allow us to traverse between multiple floors is something that we just can’t live without. In fact, without elevators, modern cities would look very different. Elevators helped create and sustain the rise of skyscrapers and high rise buildings that dominate today’s cityscapes. One of the first buildings to feature an elevator for passengers was a hotel in New York City. The Fifth Avenue hotel opened in 1859 and it was specifically designed to include an elevator for guests and visitors. This new type of elevator was considered a luxury and only added to the hotel’s prestige and allure. 

The ability to avoid climbing up and down stairs appealed immensely to people, but elevators wouldn’t really begin to catch on as personal transportation until the 1920’s. Architects such as Emery Roth began to design high rise apartment buildings all over New York city, and the taller buildings required more efficient and quicker ways to travel to and from floors. With elevator use increasing and rising in popularity, the possibilities for newer, more lavish, and sophisticated apartment dwellings began to grow. The rise of the elevator made way for the penthouse apartment!

In the past, the top floor or the space directly beneath the roof was the most undesirable space to live in. It was typically cramped and basically deemed untenantable. People of the time considered the top floor to be as unhealthy and as dangerous as the cellar. The space was primarily used as storage or utility rooms and workers would be the only ones to access it regularly. Its proximity to the roof meant that soot and debris constantly filled the room and made it hard to be in for long periods of time. However, this all changed after WWII.

With the rise in high rise apartments being built during this time, the top floors went through their own makeover. Instead of being the least livable space, they were transformed into spacious, fashionable dwellings. Lovely terraces and huge windows were added and other luxury amenities. The top floor went from being worse than the crawlspace to becoming the most expensive apartment in the building. People with means began to live in these top floor apartments and it quickly became a sign of status to live at the very top. The birth of the penthouse apartment had arrived, and it was all thanks to the elevator! 

If you are in the Seattle area and in need of an elevator or stairlift repair or installation, then call Olympic Elevator Company today!

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