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Elisha Otis
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    (August 3, 1811-April 8, 1861)
    Born in Halifax, Vermont
    Invented the safety elevator
    Founded the Otis Elevator Company
    Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (1988)
    He unsuccessfully ran a gristmill and sawmill.
    He then started manufacturing safety brakes for railroads, but went out of business when the stream he used to power the machinery was diverted by the city of Albany for its water supply.
    He built his first safety elevator to haul debris from the basement of a sawmill and initially thought so little of it that he did not patent it or even bother to ask his bosses for a bonus.
    After deciding that manufacturing elevators might be a viable business after all, he came up with a heck of a publicity stunt: at the 1853 New York World's Fair, he rode his elevator over the heads of the crowd and ordered the cable cut. The platform stayed in place as the safety brake engaged and Otis called out, 'All safe, gentlemen.'
    The safety elevator made modern skyscrapers feasible.
    Otis elevators carry the equivalent of the world's population every nine days.

Credit: C. Fishel

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