Let us tell you a story. In the mid-19th century, elevators looked more like the one pulled by Tarzan’s elephant in Johnny Weissmüller’s films than what we know today. If the rope that lifted the elevators broke, there was nothing to prevent them from falling into the void with all its load and lethal consequences. It was in this context that Elisha Otis (yes, the one with today’s Otis elevators) appeared in 1852.
Otis did not invent the elevator, an invention known since ancient times. He invented something perhaps even more important: the security system that served to skyrocket the elevator business and thus make way for the construction of the great skyscrapers. He installed vertical bars in the elevator shaft and used a safety brake capable of automatically activating if the rope broke, instantly slowing the fall of the platform. Unsurprisingly, his solution met with scepticism and did not gain many followers. In 1853, Elisha Otis rented the Crystal Palace grounds of the New York Exhibition Centre and gathered a crowd, before which he performed a spectacular demonstration of his security apparatus. He built an open silo on the floor of the enclosure through which an elevator could go up and down in full view of everyone. He got into the elevator, raised it to a height of about three stories, and with an axe cut the rope from which it was hanging. The audience screamed. The platform collapsed. But within seconds, the emergency brakes were activated and stopped the elevator from falling, to the astonishment of the public. Still alive and kicking, Otis looked out at the troubled crowd and announced: “All safe gentlemen. All safe.” And for communication experts, this was the most effective elevator pitch in history.
Go ahead and tell us in a 30-second video what Arthur Holm means to you: Who are we? What do we do? What sets us apart from the rest?
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