The inventor of the escalator is the American Nathan Ames, who received a patent for a "continuous staircase" in 1859. But Ames did not have time to introduce his invention into mass production, he died a year later. And the world's first escalator was installed only in 1894 in New York's Coney Island Park. Moving walkways had no steps and were called "Renault inclined elevator", since it was made according to the project of the American D. Renault. In 1892 he also received a patent for his invention. The escalator in a New York park was designed to entertain tourists.
For the 1900 World's Fair in Paris, the escalator was manufactured by Charles Seeberger and Otis. By the way, it was Seeberger who came up with the name "escalator", which in French means "storm ladder". Shortly after the Paris show, Otis installed an escalator at the Gimbel store in Philadelphia. The escalator served well until 1938.
In the first two decades, more than 300 escalators were installed worldwide, mainly in department stores and offices. It was only in 1911 that escalators began to be used in underground metro stations. The first city was London. The moving staircase caused a real delight among the residents of London, the newspapers of that time wrote that many citizens visit the metro only to ride on the "miracle staircase". At that time, escalators still did not have steps; they acquired their modern look only in 1921.
In the early thirties of the last century, the construction of the first metro line began in Moscow. It was decided to equip the stations with escalators, but their purchase abroad would have been too expensive. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin ordered to start the production of domestic equipment. Soon, Soviet escalators were installed at four stations of the Moscow metro.
Unlike Western countries, in our country the first escalators were produced exclusively for the metro, only years later they began to be installed in shops, airports, train stations and government agencies. The first escalator, outside the metro, appeared in the Central Children's World, which was completed in 1957.
The longest escalator in the world was built in 1994 in Hong Kong. Its length is 800 meters. With the help of this escalator, passengers can move along shops, cafes, restaurants, get from home to work and back. The record-breaking escalator is used by tens of thousands of people every day.
And the smallest escalator is installed in one of the shopping centers in the city of Kawasaki in Japan. The height of the "baby" is only 80 centimeters. Of course, this distance can be covered on foot, but visitors to the shopping center cannot deny themselves the pleasure of using the services of such an attraction. Therefore, the escalator is not idle.
The oldest operating escalator has transported shoppers at the Macy’s Herald Square mall in New York for nearly a century, since 1927. The steps on it are wooden, and the whole appearance differs significantly from the escalators of the XXI century. Despite the fact that the "veteran" regularly requires repairs, they are not going to send him to a well-deserved rest.
The world's first underwater escalator was manufactured in Taiwan. Visitors to the Farglory Ocean Park in Taiwan can use it to take an excursion, watching huge sharks, rays and other ocean inhabitants swim in the immediate vicinity.
Escalators have a number of advantages over elevators and funiculars. For example, passengers do not need to wait for the arrival of the cabin, escalators have a higher capacity. And if the escalator breaks down, it can be used like a regular staircase.
But, despite all the conveniences, the escalator can be fraught with many dangers. For example, in 1982 a tragedy occurred at the Aviamotornaya metro station in Moscow. It happened on February 17 in the evening. The working day ended, therefore, there were a lot of passengers in the metro. Suddenly, one of the escalators has doubled its speed. People lost their balance and fell down, a crush began. At that time, it was not customary to report such tragedies. Therefore, even the exact death toll is not known. Different sources name from 8 to 30 victims of the disaster.
Englishman Peter Hilders was a famous 110-meter hurdler in his youth. He participated in the Olympic Games three times, was the bronze medalist of the European Championship. And in 2008, an 80-year-old athletics veteran was detained in a supermarket for running on an escalator. Hilders himself explained that this is a great way to keep fit. But, supermarket managers reminded Hilders that he could get hurt. In addition, the former athlete sets a bad example for children.