Elisha Graves Otis – 1811-1861
In 1852, this mechanic and inventor designed a “safety hoist” to aid in the installation of heavy machinery. The hoist had an automatic brake, which would prevent the load from falling if a cable broke. In 1853, he adapted this to passenger elevators, which he began manufacturing. The Otis elevator made practical the skyscraper, which, later in the century, would become the iconic feature of the American urban landscape.