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Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, United States Listing by Lisa Harrell

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COURTNEY GILLIAM Letter from the Editor I am Courtney Gilliam and I am a Graphic Designer

composing a team of fellow classmates, branding,

with advanced skills and over four years of experience

and directing the senior show and overseeing the

in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Additional

design of the collateral for it. This has been such an

skills include photography and illustration. I enjoy

important learning experience for me and I am so

branding, advertisement work, package design, and

grateful to have been chosen for this position.

typographic design. This magazine was designed as a piece for my senior I have been the the graphic designer for the

thesis. My project required me to brand a campaign

MTSU Hockey team for the past two years. This is

on a literary character. My candidate, Lila Mae

something I am very proud of and deeply enjoy. Being

Watson from The Intuitionists novel written by Colson

the team’s first graphic designer, I was able to brand

Whitehead, is an elevator inspector running for the

the team and give them a consistent look. The hockey

Elevator Guild President. Lift is a magazine that exists

team has become a second family to me and I have

within the world of The Intuitionists, and I hope that

become good friends with many of the players and

I have done it justice. This magazine features a main

other volunteers.

article on Lila Mae Watson written and designed by me.

This year, I was elected Art Director for MTSU Graphic Design’s senior thesis show. This huge honor meant


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Please Enjoy!




Elevators Are Going Green

Lifts are becoming more sustainable, as the percentage of the world’s population living in cities grows

9 Elevator Innovations That Lifted Cities and Established Empires



Lila Mae Watson An Elevator Hero


Our featured article reflecting on the accomplishments made by Lila Mae Watson. We look back at her days as an elevator inspector


The Sideways Elevator of the Future Is Here, and It’s Wild



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GREEN By: Adrienne Bernhard


ach day, more than seven billion elevator journeys are taken in tall buildings all over the globe. Considering that half the world’s population live in cities—a number expected to jump to 70 percent by the year 2050—efficient vertical transportation has become a pressing challenge. To keep pace with an influx of urban dwellers and rising sea levels, developers will not only need to build higher, they will also need to devise greener vertical transport: that is, safe and sustainable ways to move residents from the ground up into the sky. Newer elevators already incorporate green features such as LED lights, water soluble paint and recycled construction materials, but many companies have begun to explore a wide and somewhat outlandish array of alternatives to the traditional rope-and-pulley systems of a hundred years ago. From diagonal travel (Las Vegas’ Luxor hotel has an elevator that runs along its pyramid-shaped building at a 39-degree incline) to destination dispatch (grouping passengers bound for the same destinations into the same elevators) to something called magnetic motors (using a magnetic field to propel an elevator cab between floors), the world of vertical transport is one of high hopes and higher stakes. We generally don’t give much thought to elevators, except during the brief moments we’re inside them. They may make us feel claustrophobic, awkward or impatient, but these vertical conveyances are in fact a marvel of engineering: not only do elevators shuttle passengers and freight up and down hundreds of stories—to hotel rooms and apartments, lobbies and basements—they also carry tons of steel cable each trip they make. The shafts in which they operate are essential to the structural integrity of a building, and their design can mean the critical difference between sustainable use of space and return on investment.

An elevator inside a typical skyscraper might weigh 80,000 pounds; Unfortunately, many elevators in the United States rely on aging technology, clunky cabs and harmful lubricants, at

significant environmental and financial cost. Consider that an elevator inside a typical skyscraper might weigh 80,000 pounds; hoisting all that mass requires a tremendous amount of energy. The taller the building, the more elevator shafts needed, each with their own motor; extra tall buildings often require a second sky lobby halfway between the ground floor and the roof. In fact, elevators typically account for between 2 percent and 10 percent of a building’s energy use. That includes materials—interior paints, carpet, control panels, lighting, ventilation systems—and the mechanical technology used to operate the cab itself. Each of these elements contributes points to a building’s overall score for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation by the U.S. Green Building Council. Essentially, LEED is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, though many elevator manufacturers hire third parties to conduct lifecycle and toxicology studies on their materials. Buildings around the world are keen to get that seal of approval. While LEED issued its most recent elevator standards in 2016, green vertical-transportation initiatives began as early as the 1990s. Machine-room-less (MRL) technology, for instance, eliminated the room that houses hydraulic oil and pumps— one of the biggest advances in elevator design since they went electric a century earlier. The room-less elevator consumes less vertical and horizontal space; without a machine room, a building’s flat roof can more easily accommodate expansive green areas with plantings and solar panels. These days, manufacturers are chiefly interested in regenerative drive systems: elevators that recover some of the energy they consume. For the vertical transport industry, that means fostering an economy where sustainability is profitable. In 2017, Thyssenkrupp Elevator became the first company to retrofit an existing elevator to achieve net-zero energy. The project, which took place in Boston’s historical district, tested energy-generating cars that divert power back to the electrical grid. Engineers wanted to find ways to conserve energy when the elevator was running—and, more critically, when the elevator was not running. L I F T Magazine


to the middle of the 19th century, though the use of lifting equipment can be traced even further—to Roman antiquity. Cranes, windlasses and capstans (ancient water-raising devices based on a kind of swinging, see-saw design) may well have inspired the use of counterweights in early elevators and hoists. Modern elevator engineers, however, are faced with a uniquely modern problem: the struggle to eliminate toxic runoff that results when an elevator cab is submerged by tidal floodwater. Mounting climate change means more severe storm surges, which can inundate elevator shafts. When the water drains, it picks up lubricants, which can travel directly into our water supply, threatening aquatic life. In response, Thyssenkrup developed a petroleum substitute—a canola-based, biodegradable fluid.

“Eighty percent of our equipment components are recyclable,” says Mike Ramandanes, senior vice president of new installations for Schindler Elevator. Schindler Elevator Corporation, for its part, worked to reduce the fuel consumption of its service vehicle fleet through local material sourcing and hub distribution, which reduces overall transport emissions. “Eighty percent of our equipment components are recyclable,” says Mike Ramandanes, senior vice president of new installations for Schindler Elevator. The company has partnered with some of the most well-known green buildings in the U.S., including Hearst Tower, the first building in New York City to receive the LEED Gold certification (it’s since been awarded platinum status). Installation prices for the tallest buildings can range from $500,000 for single-car elevators to more than $1 million for


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double-deckers (which stop on alternate floors, reducing the number of stops per run), according to a 2017 global report by Orbis Research. Utility companies do provide limited tax incentives for green “modernized” elevators, and some installers offer on-site metering to show businesses and tenants that the energy savings is real. But capital strategy and the push to sell products is mostly the work of the elevator manufacturers themselves. While an elevator upgrade is expensive, the dividends are well worth it. And when developers adopt sustainable vertical technology, they spur innovation. An innovation like Thyssenkrupp’s “TWIN,” a double deck elevator with independent cabs that travel on the same guide rails, allows for seamless movement between the top and bottom zones of 30-plus-story buildings—potentially freeing up an entire floor for business or residence. Smaller elevator mechanisms, like those devised by Otis, replace conventional ropes with flat belts, which decreases weight and reduces air resistance and heat friction. These solutions appeal to consumers, but they can also offer building owners significant reductions in energy expenses, and a more elegant aesthetic indoors.

Thyssenkrupp is testing its new “MULTI,” which relies on magnetic fields instead of cables and can run inside or outside a building, vertically or horizontally, offering architects a new range of possibilities. Many companies are testing even newer technology offsite. Helsinki-based elevator manufacturer Kone Oyj, for example, drilled 350 meters into a limestone mine to create a technology lab where it conducts experiments with patented hoisting material, robotics, vibrational resonance and free falls. And

in Germany, Thyssenkrupp is testing its new “MULTI,” which relies on magnetic fields instead of cables and can run inside or outside a building, vertically or horizontally, offering architects a new range of possibilities. But the epicenter of the high-rise frenzy might be Asia and the Middle East. China’s historic urbanization program has dramatically increased the number of vertical transport projects there. In Dubai, home to 18 of the tallest towers in the world, panoramic elevators, ergonomic breaking systems and noise-cancelling technology are hallmarks of a new frontier in vertical technology. Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower will be the first building to reach 1,000 meters—that’s nine times the height of NASA’s first moonshot rocket—when it’s finished in 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower will be the first building to reach 1,000 meters— that’s nine times the height of NASA’s first moonshot rocket—when it’s finished in 2020. The day will come when a passenger can ride up to the 300th story of a cloud-covered tower, her upward journey propelled by rope-less cabs and solar power. Elevators will then be free to journey any which way, Willy Wonka-style, and architects will no longer be limited by the vertical direction of upward travel, or by the constraints of the ground below. On a planet where land resources are finite, sustainable elevation is paramount.

LIFTING U.S. UP Washington, D.C. is the first LEED Platinum city in the world and boasts boasts the most LEED certified elevators. Some elevators in D.C. have been shown to produce three times as much energy that is needed to power them. The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, opened in October 2015, is the greenest Skyrise ever built and exceeds the current criteria for a LEED Platinum certified building. Also in Pittsburgh, the Gold and Platinum rating of David L. Lawrence Convention Center is the first convention center in the world to have such certifications. Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens has multiple LEED certifications, including the world’s only Platinum-certified greenhouse and a Platinum-certified and net-zero energy Center for Sustainable Landscapes. All of these Pittsburgh buildings boast sustainable elevators that produce the power needed to power the lights and electrical functions required to power the elevator.

“With immense urbanization at hand,” says Ramandanes, “it is our job to ensure we have the capability to literally go higher than ever before.”

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elevator inventions T h at L i f t e d C i t i e s a n d E s ta b l i s h e d E m p i r e s

There may be no single invention that shaped the modern city as much as the elevator. But the elevator, of course, is not a single invention. It’s a series of innovations going back hundreds of years and continuing now and into the future. Otis Elevator Company, founded 160 years ago today, quickly became, and remains, one of the largest elevator companies in the world thanks largely to Elisha Otis, who invented the elevator safety brake in the 1850s. The elevator safety brake made passenger elevators feasible, but many other good ideas, built upon each other over time, enabled cities to push continually skyward. Here are nine — some, but not all of the most important.

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Otis’ invention, for which he received this patent in 1861, virtually eliminated elevator falls. The device relied on a set of loaded springs that would automatically press downward-facing hooks into upward-facing metal teeth on the sides of the elevator shaft if tension on the rope was released. After Otis demonstrated the brake at the 1854 Crystal Palace Exposition — by having an associate cut the rope while he was on the platform — sales skyrocketed. But more importantly, now that people didn’t have to climb so many stairs, tall buildings started to pop up in cities. “That was really the beginnings of not only the Otis Elevator Company, but also the usage of elevators in a big way for passengers, and really enabled the modern city,” says Daryl Marvin, Director of Innovation at Otis. (Elisha Otis, 1861)



Inventor Werner von Siemens — yes, the founder of Siemens — is credited with the first elevator with an electric motor, but its adoption wasn’t widespread until the first part of the 20th century, when the grid was broad enough that electricity was a reliable source of power, says Marvin. Formerly, hydraulic lifts, like the one pictured here, run by steam or oil, drove the cable-winding cylinder. (Werner von Siemens, Early 20th Century)



Safety is one of several trends in the history of elevator development, says Marvin. In 1944 Joseph Giovanni of United Elevator Service patented a sensitive door bumper as a way to automatically stop when the elevator door hits an obstruction, say, the wayward limb of a passenger. But safety doors didn’t stop there. Elevator companies like Mitsubishi Electric have since incorporated infrared and ultrasound sensors along with pressure-sensitive safety edges.


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(Joseph Giovanni, 1944)



The sky lobby isn’t an elevator. It’s not even a part of an elevator, and it’s not patented (though a system for multiple sky lobbies is). But it’s still an important innovation in elevator history, one that helped enable new, super-tall buildings like the Nina Tower in Hong Kong. Like other sky lobbies, the one in the Nina Tower (pictured) is located partway up the building. Passengers who need to get to the upper floors first take a high-speed elevator directly to a staging floor. From there, they transfer to another elevator for the upper reaches. It may sound like a hassle, but it’s based on sophisticated passenger flow models. “The analysis all shows that this is a much more efficient way of servicing the building than if you had elevators that tried to get to every floor,” says Marvin. (Mid 20th Century)



Another factor driving innovation is efficiency. In 1979, Otis introduced the Elevonic 101 (pictured), which used a TI-99 microprocessor to control where the elevator stopped and when. But it did more than optimize routes; it also automated stops, starts, and the elevator’s speed, and further reduced the need for dedicated elevator operators. “[The operators] were, in the early days, doing more than pushing buttons,” Marvin says. “In most cases, they had a lever they were pulling on that would change the speed ... and then they would be landing the car with their own skill.” (Otis Elevator Company, 1979)



Like sky lobbies, double-deck elevators are designed to optimize human flow. By stacking two cars on top of each other — one for odd floors, one for even — elevators can carry twice as many people without adding to their overall footprint. As a result, they offer a reduction in the amount of unrentable core space dedicated to systems like utilities and elevators. “Without that it really would not have been very cost effective to go to the size buildings that we go to today,” says Marvin (Late 20th Century)

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More recently, Otis has experimented with software solutions to passenger flow. In 2005 the company introduced Compass, a new interface that allows users to select the floor they need before they step onto the elevator. Then the system evaluates all the current requests, selects the best elevator for that passenger, and directs her to it. “It also allows the elevator to be significantly more efficient, in how it services the passengers and gets the passengers to their destination,” says Marvin. “We estimate it’s up to 20 to 40 percent faster than the conventional system.”


(Otis Elevator Company, 2005)


Also in 2005, Otis introduced regenerative drive on its elevators. But this wasn’t an entirely new concept; more than a hundred years prior, Schuyler Wheeler included a system “in which the energy developed or expended by the descent of the material is utilized to supplement the electric energy in the working system or circuits” in his patent for an electric elevator. Both versions work somewhat like a hybrid car when it brakes. As the elevator descends, Otis’ ReGen system uses that kinetic energy to generate electrical energy, releasing it into the building’s grid. (Otis Elevator Company, 2005)



In 2007, Mitsubishi built the SOLAE tower as a real-life test facility for highspeed elevators. At 567 feet, it’s tall enough to give some idea how elevators will perform, but super-tall buildings are now enough higher that they bring a new set of problems, says Marvin. Namely, wind shear. The super-tall are designed to flex in the wind, and so elevators have to accommodate that. Of course, thanks to sky lobbies, those elevators largely aren’t running from base to spire, and the SOLAE tower is designed to incorporate high-speed lifts for the next generation of skyscrapers, including testing drives, gears, and cables. Mitsubishi has been selected to install elevators in some of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Shanghai Tower, scheduled for completion in 2014.


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(Mitsubishi, 2007)

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by: courtney Gilliam

Lila Mae Watson, most people in the elevator world know that name for her work on finishing up the Black Box elevator designs. What they might not know about is her valiant efforts in uniting the Metropolitan Elevator Guild as the guild president. As we here at Lift magazine reflect back on the life of miss Lila Mae, we wanted to share her story with you so that you can learn about the sheer importance of her work.



GUILD DAYS Lila Mae Watson joined the guild in 1952 when she became the first black female inspector in the guild’s history. In the Elevator Guild’s humble beginnings in 1918, there existed only one way to inspect an elevator, the Empiricist way which was to thoroughly inspect an elevator following a strict set of guidelines like we have in place today. But in 1937, guild member and creative mind behind the Black Box, James Fulton created the Intuitionist faction. Intuitionists would inspect elevators depending on the sensations and feelings an elevator gave off. Lila Mae joined the guild as an Intuitionist, though by the end of her time an inspector that would change. Until 1954, Lila Mae held the elevator highest success rating in the guild’s history at an astonishing 100%. It was in October of that year that one of her elevators had their first fall. The Fanny Briggs Memorial Building’s elevator fell shortly after she had inspected it. This is where Lila Mae’s turmoils within the guild began, but is also what helped shape her into becoming a strong and effective leader capable of leading a guild to glory. Initially, after the fall the intuitionists were quick to throw blame at Frank Chancre, empiricist and president of the guild and he was quick to throw the blame on Lila Mae and the intuitionists all together. It was election year and Chancre had already been throwing blame at the intuitionists members and the faction itself. It only made sense that he would target the factions rising star in an attempt to sabotage her career to benefit his own. Tensions were already high in the guild as they always were during election years, however, it didn’t make too much sense to assume Chancre had been the cause for the fall of the elevator. It was then that Lila Mae began her own personal journey to uncover the truth behind the Fanny Briggs Memorial Building’s elevator crashing. In the weeks that followed the crash, Lila Mae was constantly being watched and followed by the empiricists. After the fall, Lila Mae arrived home to two intruders sent by Chancre ransacking her home. It was at that time that Lila Mae first learned of James Fulton’s Black Box design. Some of Fulton’s blueprints had been sent to Chancre, Orville Lever (intuitionist in the running for guild president), and our very own Lift Magazine. Lila Mae was tasked with retrieving Fulton’s notebooks and remaining blueprints for the Black Box design. Lever’s assistant, Mr. Reed sent Lila Mae on a series of tasks to find the location of the missing journals that eventually got her abducted by Chancre and his men. Lila Mae was kept in a room with another abductee, Ben Urich, a journalist for Lift magazine who had written an article on the Black Box design. Chancre threatened Lila Mae about her search for the notebook and reluctantly let her go under the condition she would cease her search. It was too late, Lila Mae was in too deep, she had to find the notebook if not for the guild then for herself. So she persevered and started her own search. She had to learn how to play them at their own game. Lila Mae returned to Lift after some time to meet up with Ben Ulrich, who told her he had the complete blueprints but the elevator company Arbo wanted to monopolize the design in order to stay profitable. Lila Mae knew this was wrong, Arbo wanted to discredit James Fulton from his original design and claim it as their own, so she began her search for the real

notes to right their wrong. Lila Mae set out to speak with Mrs. Rodgers, a lady who worked under James Fulton during his time at the guild. She arrived at her house right after it had been ransacked by Arbo and Lila Mae explained her side. Mrs. Rodgers saw something in Lila Mae that she hadn’t seen since working with Fulton, determination, grit, and honor. She knew Lila Mae would be the change the guild needed, so she told Lila Mae something that no one else in the Elevator Guild knew. Mrs. Rodgers told Lila Mae that James Fulton was actually half black but passed as white and that he hid his identity to remain relevant and respected. As if that news wasn’t big enough, what she told Lila Mae next changed her and how she would view the guild forever. Mrs. Rodgers informed Lila Mae that James Fulton, the founder of the Intuistionst, started the faction as a joke. Things got carried away and he wasn’t sure how to stop the progression of the faction so he just went along with it letting everyone believe his lie. Lila Mae was stunned, everything she had known to be true was a lie. Mrs. Rodgers gave her Fulton’s notebook with the notes on the Black Box, and just like that Lila Mae had purpose again.

Lila Mae went on to win 7 awards for her work on the Black Box and she shared her title with James Fulton. Lila Mae spent the next two years perfecting the Black Box design and making sure it was safe enough for even an Intuitionist inspector to check off on it. She needed to be certain that this design was right and what was best for the people that would be using it. Despite her new dislike towards Fulton, she stayed true to his design. Fulton might have created the biggest lie she has known but he was also the best there was when it came to designing safe elevators, and she knew she could respect that. Lila Mae went on to win 7 awards for her work on the Black Box and she shared her title with James Fulton.

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provide proper equipment, and unify the two opposing factions that make up the guild. Before she ever began her campaign, Lila Mae met with experts in the guild to discuss how all of her goals could be achieved. This meant financial experts, legal experts, OSHA consultants, labor workers, and past guild presidents. She spent two months gathering the information she needed to get these plans into action.

Watson’s campaign logo. (1967)

HER CAMPAIGN After a few years away from the guild, Lila Mae had time to reflect her time there. She wanted to return to the Elevator Guild but she wanted to play a bigger role in the guild, one where she could help others and change the guild for the better. But Lila Mae knew something about the guild that no one else in the guild knew, she knew the truth behind the Intuitionists faction, and she couldn’t tell anyone. If the truth that the intuitionists were a made-up faction got out Lila Mae would lose support not only from people in the Intuitionists faction but also from the Empiricists faction. Both sides would lose trust in her, she needed to hold on to this secret for the time being. During her first campaign run, Lila Mae faced much oppression. She had a lot going against her. If she were to win, Lila Mae would become the first black president of the guild and only the second female. Lila Mae also had a new radical idea that would work for her as well as against her, she wanted to unite the two guilds factions. She immediately gained small support from both sides of the guild but it wasn’t enough to secure a nomination, she needed to expand her playing field. Lila Mae’s platform was simple in theory, expand worker benefits, give more rights to the inspectors,

Lila Mae would become the first black president of the guild and only the second female. The hardest part of Lila Mae’s campaign was convincing people to unite the guild as one. At the time, the guild was set in stone on the two faction system and not much could be changed. People from both sides viewed the factions as necessities, something the guild could not function without. This was a radical idea and one that caused a lot of concern from some members and gave her opponents reason to discredit her. However, there were guild members that immediately supported her cause and rallied with her. After gaining popularity among the Elevator Guild inspectors, Lila Mae went on to secure her nomination in November. The support from the guild inspectors wasn’t enough though; she needed support from the higher-ups and what better way to get that than through the people. Not just those who were in the guild, but the people in the city. By reaching out to them and assuring them that she would keep elevator users safe, Lila Mae could secure a win. They couldn’t vote in the election but they could call the offices and show their support. And that they did. Lila Mae became the first guild candidate to advertise in to civilians. Her campaign poster appeared inside many elevators, plastered on buildings, inside offices, and even appeared inside public works buildings across the metropolis. Lila Mae Watson gained popularity amongst the community and it began with her poster. Outside the elevator guild and community, not many people were familiar with Ms. Watson, until November 1967 when her campaign posters hit the streets. She quickly became a strong figure for young minority girls to look up to. Lila Mae became very active in her community following her rise in popularity to help ensure her spot as guild president and make a positive impact on the younger generation. This caught the eye of those who opposed her, namely the Empiricists who would often vandalize posters of her around the metropolis.

She quickly became a strong figure for young minority girls to look up to. Lila Mae became very active in her community following her rise in popularity to help ensure her spot as guild president and make a positive impact on the younger generation.

Knowing her audience, Lila Mae Watson put the door hangers advertising her campaign primarily in the elevator guild office on the doors of members of the Intuitionist faction. Lila Mae knew it would be hard to sway the members of the rivaling Empiricist faction so she didn’t waste paper there. However, Lila Mae took an approach that no guild front runner had done before, she advertised to the people outside her guild. These door hangers began to appear on the doors of apartments, offices, and any metropolis city building with an elevator. Lila Mae knew these people couldn’t vote, but these were still people being affected by the elevator guild, and they were more willing to voice their opinion. Phone calls began to flood the guild’s offices from people outside the guild asking questions and voicing their approval of Lila Mae. Lila Mae Watson was the first candidate to advertise her campaign for Elevator Guild President in magazines. Her magazine ad series was featured in local metropolitan magazines and in the winter and spring issues of Lift Magazine. Just like with the door hangers, Lila Mae was sure this would reach a larger group of people and it did just that. People called into the Metropolitan Elevator Guild from around the country after seeing her advertisement in Lift. Across the country, people began to stand with Lila Mae. In March of 1968 when elections rolled around Lila Mae was confident in her campaign but worried that her opponent might have the win. Her opponent was a well-loved Empiricist who was rerunning for election after taking a term off. He ran and won in 1960 by a landslide and was appreciated by Empiricists and Intuitionists both. It was to many Elevator Guild member’s surprise that Lila Mae came out on top. She was able to secure a victory. The numbers were tight and she only won by a marginal number of votes, but her determination and willpower got her what she so badly wanted.

HER Presidency Lila Mae served as president of the elevator guild for twelve years. In the three terms that she lead the guild, she was able to accomplish every goal she had set out to. People rallied behind Lila Mae as soon as she took office and started helping guild members. When she ran for re-election in the 1972 election she won with over 80% of the votes and in 1976 when she announced she’d be running again for her final term, no one stepped up to run against her. Today in the lobby of the Elevator Guilds across the country hangs a portrait of Lila Mae Watson with a placard reading “The Uniter of t he Guild” beneath it. When she ran for her second election, Lila Mae used the slogan “United We Rise.” The slogan was a marriage of her first campaign slogans “Together We Rise” and her secondary slogan “Unite The Guild.” During her second run, the guild was united so she felt comfortable enough using the word unite so dominantly. At this point,





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Watson’s campaign poster. (1967) the guild stood with her and saw the good in what she had done for the people of the guild and those that they serve. The merging of the guild’s factions was a slow process that took time. This was to help ease people into the new system. Lila Mae helped both Emericists and Intuitionists learn how the other faction inspected. She provided paid night classes for inspectors that wanted to learn or fine-tune their skills. When the factions did combine, the Elevator Guild saw the highest success in all inspections in history. Employees were happier and there were no inner turmoils bringing the guild down. Work was getting done more efficiently and with fewer problems.

Lila Mae Watson remains the highest-rated president in the Elevator Guild’s history. To this day, Lila Mae Watson remains the highest-rated president in the Elevator Guild’s history. She saw what was best for the guild and its workers and made the necessary change needed. She is the only guild president to have made national news and be invited to the White House. Lila Mae Watson deserves to be recognized for her work with the Black Box and with her work unifying the Elevator Guild.

The Sideways Elevator of the Future Is Here, and It's Wild

By: Liz Stinson


he Multi elevator goes up and down, left and right, even diagonally—and it could change the way buildings are designed.

People laughed when ThyssenKrupp, a company synonymous with elevators, announced it was developing one that goes every which way. Who’d ever heard of such a thing?


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Everyone knows elevators go just two directions: Up and down. Some took to calling it the Wonkavator, after Willy Wonka’s wacky lift that goes sideways, slantways, and longways. “There were some doubts,” company CEO Patrick Bass says with just a bit of understatement. Put aside your doubts. After three years of work, the

company is testing the Multi in a German tower and finalizing the safety certification. This crazy contraption zooms up, down, left, right, and diagonally. ThyssenKrupp just sold the first Multi to a residential building under construction in Berlin, and expects to sell them to other developers soon. The future of elevators is now the present, and it’s pretty damned wild.

ThyssenKrupp designed its new elevator to move 1,000 to 1,400 feet per minute. “We can guarantee a cabin will be at that floor every 30 seconds.” Multi ditches the cables that suspend conventional elevator cars in favor of magnetic levitation, the same technology used in high-speed trains and the proposed HyperLoop. Strong magnets on every Multi car work with a magnetized coil running along the elevator hoistway’s guide rails to make the cars float. Turning these coils on and off creates magnetic fields strong enough to pull the car in various directions. Multi moves to-and-fro through exchangers, which you can think of as sophisticated railway switches that guide the cars. Bearings called “slings” mounted to every elevator car allow it to change direction—say, move to the left, or even go diagonally—while keeping the car level with the ground. “The

cabin never moves during an exchange,” Bass says. All of this moves people more quickly and efficiently. It’s not about speed. ThyssenKrupp designed its new elevator to move 1,000 to 1,400 feet per minute, far slower than the 1,968 fpm experienced in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. (Speeds over 2,000 feet per minute lead to ear problems and nausea.) “In past, the industry basically tried to compensate for taller buildings by running a faster car,” Bass says. Rather, Multi increases efficiency by increasing volume. Ditching cables lets ThyssenKrupp stack elevator cars at nearly every floor without overloading the system. When one car blocks another, it can move left or right out of the way. “You can manage a traffic grid like you would a subway,” Bass says. “We can guarantee a cabin will be at that floor every 30 seconds.” You can see why developers might be eager to install such a thing in their megabuildings. But the real selling point lies in Multi’s ability to facilitate far more elaborate or complex buildings. Until now, architects have had to design around the elevator shafts, which can comprise 40 percent of a building’s core. Multi could allow them to install elevators almost anywhere, including the perimeter. Bass sees a day when buildings are less self-contained, and more connected to the surrounding city. “You’ll no longer see this hard division between how you get to a building and how you are transported within a building,” he says. You’ll still go up and down, but also sideways, slantways, and longways.

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COLOPHON FRONT COVER Photograph by Courtney Gilliam PAGE 1 Photograph by Courtney Corlew via Unsplash PAGE 3 Photograph by Stephen Dahl PAGE 4 Photograph by Mahad Aamir via Unsplash Illustration by Courtney Gilliam Photograph by Courtney Gilliam Rendering by ThyssenKrupp PAGE 5 Photograph by Ystallonne Alves via Unsplash Article by Adrienne Bernhard via Smithsonian PAGE 7 Photograph by Mahad Aamir via Unsplash PAGE 9 Photograph by Kym Ellis via Unsplash PAGE 10 Illustrations by Courtney Gilliam Article by Nathan Hurst via Wired PAGE 14 Photograph by Topshop PAGE 15 Photograph by Courtney Gilliam PAGE 17 Photograph by Joe Raedle via Getty Images PAGE 18 Photograph by Courtney Gilliam Article by Courtney Gilliam PAGE 19 Renderings by ThyssenKrupp Article by Liz Stinson via Wired

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