Love, powered by Otis Company

An Elevator Romance
R: Unknown. D: William Garwood. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1911
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“A wealthy, hustling young Westerner comes East, and immediately calls up his boyhood chum, now a staid businessman in a New York skyscraper. The Westerner is charmed by the sweet voice of the telephone girl who answers his call from the office switchboard, and determines to make her acquaintance. In fact, one of the first things he does after reaching his friend’s office is to make inquiries, and he is made happy by an introduction. He soon finds that while the voice is charming, the girl’s appearance and manner are much more so. But the girl, being modest and retiring, does not approve of such an informal acquaintance. She practically snubs the Westerner, and he sees that he has made little progress in his suit. And time is valuable for he soon must go back to his home, and he has already decided that he will take a bride with him. Love finds a way, as it usually does. The energetic suitor bribes the elevator man to let him take his place for an hour, picking out the time when he knows a girl will go to lunch. She is the only passenger in the car in that trip (although it takes energy to accomplish it), and by some mishap, the elevator gets out of order between floors. (…)”
The Moving Picture World, April 29, 1911

“The impossibility of this farce injures its ultimate chances of any real success. To begin with the girl would at once recognize the hero even in his disguise as the elevator boy, while the transition from coldness to a friendly regard is unseemingly rapid. A fine effect was missed in this elevator scene as it might easily have been shown in motion of descent, which was not done save for a brief second or so and then but poorly. The constant posing of the leading man each time he passed in front of the camera, his long drawn out sighs and forced facial expression ruined his work and spoiled his otherwise pleasing personality. The office scene is well staged and the acting of the employer and the old bookkeeper deserve praise. The fire was also well done.”
The Morning Telegraph, April 30, 1911

The history of modern elevators
The first electric elevator was built by Werner von Siemens in 1880 in Germany. The inventor Anton Freissler developed the ideas of von Siemens and built up a successful enterprise in Austria-Hungary. The safety and speed of electric elevators were significantly enhanced by Frank Sprague who added floor control, automatic elevators, acceleration control of cars, and safeties. His elevator ran faster and with larger loads than hydraulic or steam elevators, and 584 electric elevators were installed before Sprague sold his company to the Otis Elevator Company in 1895. Sprague also developed the idea and technology for multiple elevators in a single shaft. (…) In 1874, J.W. Meaker patented a method which permitted elevator doors to open and close safely. In 1887, American Inventor Alexander Miles of Duluth, Minnesota patented an elevator with automatic doors that would close off the elevator shaft. (…) By 1900, completely automated elevators were available, but passengers were reluctant to use them.”