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The History of Lifts

At Axess 2, we provide a wide range of modern, efficient and stylish lifts which have all been designed with specific and varying uses in mind. This high degree of quality and bespoke design choices are possible due to the continual advancements in science and technology over the centuries. Here is a brief history of how we have reached such high feats.

Throughout history, since some of the earliest civilisations in ancient Egyptian and Roman kingdoms, there has been reference and evidence to suggest the use of lifting devices which have developed to become modern day lifts.

The first record we now have which references the beginnings of a lift mechanism is in the work of Roman architect Vitruvius, dating from around 236BC, when counterweighted levellers and elevators were mentioned as making use of hemp rope, and being powered by animals or by hand.

Over the next millennium modern civilisation developed, and construction methods were advanced alongside new inventions which can be traced to modern day features. Lifting devices then started to become more sophisticated.  By 1000AD in Spain, the famous Book of Secrets again described an elevating device, used to raise a large battering ram to destroy a fortress.

By the 17th century, similar features were seen as a more common occurrence, as modern civilisation and industrialisation began to develop. During this time, there is evidence in both England and France of systems using hoists and winders to lift materials when building lavish palaces.

Over the next century, technology began to get more sophisticated. The screw drive was soon invented, which formed the basis of the development of the modern passenger lift, and was the most significant piece of elevation technology so far.

The continued advancement of what we now call a lift was driven by the need to move raw materials such as coal and wood off hillsides, and further by the growth of steel beam construction. Moving into the 19th century, steam power began to be used to power lifts within coal mines, with this method soon being adopted for use within buildings, initially operating as tourist attractions, beginning in London, and allowing public views across the city.

Next came the invention of the hydraulic crane in 1846, initially used in Tyneside docks for lifting cargo. Much more powerful than earlier steam mechanisms, hydraulic lifts quickly became popular for a variety of uses including lifting passengers.

The safety of lifts was first considered in 1852, when methods were developed to prevent the cab from falling if the cable broke. This was first introduced as a passenger lift in New York in 1857, with elevator shafts being developed shortly before.

Moving closer to what we know today, the electric lift had been developed in Germany by 1880 by Werner von Siemens, with models quickly becoming considerably safer and more efficient.

Over the next century, new and improved technology was continuously developed, with increasingly advanced automated and technical systems being put in place, and in the last half century the focus moved on to beautiful and modern design.

At Axess2, we have developed our ideas and creative flair, and combined it with reasonable pricing to become one of the most reliable and trusted commercial lift suppliers in the country, providing our services to a range of famous clients.

Our passenger lifts are often the focal point of a room or commercial space, acting not merely as a functional piece of equipment,  but just as much as a modern piece of architecture to be admired.

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