Elisha Otis’ invention of the safety brake forever changed how people move.
After cutting a rope that should have sent Elisha Otis on a free fall aboard a raised platform at the World’s Fair, the inventor declared himself “all safe.” Saved by his safety brake, invented the year prior, Otis wowed the crowd as he showcased his elevator platform. Today, 170 years after its first sale, Otis Worldwide (NYSE: OTIS) embraces its safety legacy while helping to advance the industry as a leading, world-class elevator and escalator manufacturing, installation, and service company.
Creating a way to safely move vertically also meant an entirely new vision for how cities could build up rather than across. Structures that ‘scraped the sky’ would soon be built relying on elevators to transport people safely and efficiently to the upper floors. Otis’ invention would eventually enable the building of iconic skyscrapers, bustling airports, residential apartments, and major office complexes. The elevator has proven to be an ever-evolving invention that has stood the test of time.
When Otis first introduced the world to safe vertical travel, the planet included only about 1.2 billion people. Today, the world’s population is more than 8 billion. And the company Elisha Otis started now helps move the equivalent of one-fourth of them – more than 2 billion – every day.
“With great pride in our rich legacy, we continue to deliver for our stakeholders today, and we are focused on our future and what the next few decades will bring for Otis, our industry and the world’s mobility needs,” said Otis Chair, CEO & President Judy Marks. “I’m excited to witness the innovation and ambition of our colleagues who continue to advance our industry – likely beyond Elisha’s wildest dreams.”
In the years ahead, Otis will continue to go beyond its founder’s vision with products like Otis ONETM, a state-of-the-art IoT platform delivering unique insights to customers including predictive maintenance and real-time equipment status updates. That game-changing technology is native in Otis’ industry leading Gen3TM and Gen360TM platforms. And the new Gen3 CoreTM – recently launched in North America – was built off the Gen3 model to help answer the call of urban sprawl that requires more low- and mid-rise buildings in growing cities.
Otis remains committed to a long-standing tradition of volunteerism, too, as it supports communities around the globe where its colleagues live and work. As part of its 170th anniversary recognition, the company encourages colleagues to volunteer at least three hours in 2023, supporting local organizations focused on helping communities thrive.
Among those communities are many in Connecticut, where Otis has had its global headquarters since 1976. To mark the 170th milestone anniversary, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont proclaimed Sept. 20, 2023, ‘Otis Elevator Day.’