Thursday, April 17, 2008

Coney History: 1896: First Escalator is Coney Island Ride

In response to the last post, the first moving stairway; the escalator was actually a ride in Coney Island.

In 1891, Jesse Reno patented a moving stairway – actually a moving ramp – that was known as the "inclined elevator." In 1896, Reno installed his version of an escalator at the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island. The amusement park ride, which transported riders on a conveyor belt built at a 25-degree angle, was considered a novelty by the 75,000 people who rode it during its two-week Coney Island exhibition. Another inventor, Charles D. Seeberger, developed a moving stairway with wooden steps. Both were displayed at an international exhibition in Paris in 1900, where the word "escalator" was coined. The Otis Elevator Company bought both patents, ultimately merging the two designs to create the escalator that is commonly used today. An early escalator is shown here in an 1899 photo.

1896: First Escalator is Coney Island [It happened in New York / Newsday]

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