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Lifted

Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator

ANDREAS BERNARD
TRANSLATED FROM GERMAN BY DAVID DOLLENMAYER
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 309
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfdf1
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  • Book Info
    Lifted
    Book Description:

    Before skyscrapers forever transformed the landscape of the modern metropolis, the conveyance that made them possible had to be created. Invented in New York in the 1850s, the elevator became an urban fact of life on both sides of the Atlantic by the early twentieth century. While it may at first glance seem a modest innovation, it had wide-ranging effects, from fundamentally restructuring building design to reinforcing social class hierarchies by moving luxury apartments to upper levels, previously the domain of the lower classes. The cramped elevator cabin itself served as a reflection of life in modern growing cities, as a space of simultaneous intimacy and anonymity, constantly in motion.In this elegant and fascinating book, Andreas Bernard explores how the appearance of this new element changed notions of verticality and urban space. Transforming such landmarks as the Waldorf-Astoria and Ritz Tower in New York, he traces how the elevator quickly took hold in large American cities while gaining much slower acceptance in European cities like Paris and Berlin. Combining technological and architectural history with the literary and cinematic, Bernard opens up new ways of looking at the elevator--as a secular confessional when stalled between floors or as a recurring space in which couples fall in love. Rising upwards through modernity,Liftedtakes the reader on a compelling ride through the history of the elevator.Andreas Bernardis editor ofSuddeutsche Zeitung, Germany's largest daily newspaper. He received his Ph.D. in Cultural Sciences from the Bauhaus University Weimar, and teaches cultural studies in Berlin and Lucerne, Switzerland.

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-8042-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-34)

    The history of the elevator begins with a piece of theater.

    From May to October 1854, the mechanic Elisha Graves Otis gave repeated performances at the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York City, designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of a safety device he had invented. On September 20 of the previous year, Otis founded the E. G. Otis Elevator Company in Yonkers, New York. But having received only one order in his first seven months of business, he was happy to accept an invitation to introduce his apparatus to the public. In the Crystal Palace on...

  4. 1 THE BREACH THROUGH THE BUILDING: ORGANIZING THE VERTICAL
    (pp. 35-64)

    An early essay on multistory office buildings spoke of the “simplicity of arrangement” that should be observed when organizing their spaces in the future. “From the point where the elevators deliver in each story,” the author declared,

    the door of every office on that floor should be visible; or, at least the corridors leading thereto should be plain and unmistakable. Nothing is more distressing than a labyrinth of halls and passages, with endless spurs and unexpected twists and turns, ending in culs-de-sac, mere nothing, or quite impartially in important offices or janitors’ dust bins. Plain, straight, coherent, giving an idea...

  5. 2 FROM ATTIC TO PENTHOUSE: THE VERTICAL HIERARCHY OF BUILDINGS
    (pp. 65-148)

    Gabriel Dan, the protagonist in Joseph Roth’s 1924 novelHotel Savoy, is on his way home to Vienna after spending several years in Russian POW camps. He arrives in a Polish town and takes a room in a hotel—on the sixth floor above ground level, where the prices are lowest. After a few hours’ sleep he sets out on a tour of the other floors. As he closes the door of his room behind him, he finds a notice tacked to it by the hotel manager, Kaleguropulos:

    QUIET IS REQUESTED AFTER 10 PM NO RESPONSIBILITY CAN BE TAKEN FOR...

  6. 3 CONTROLS
    (pp. 149-176)

    In 1909, a few months after uniform regulations for elevators went into effect in Prussia and its provinces, a booklet entitledDer Fahrstuhlführer(The elevator operator) was published in Berlin. Since the new regulations required every operator to be examined by the relevant authorities, “it seems to the authors of this modest publication,” as they stated in their foreword, “that there is a need for a book from which the more intelligent building superintendant, doorman, servant, etc. … can gain enough familiarity with the setup and most important components as well as the operation of his elevator that he will...

  7. 4 INTERIORS
    (pp. 177-262)

    The multistory apartment buildings that rapidly proliferated in the second half of the nineteenth century created another difficulty besides adding upper floors unsuitable for residences: they contained a number of spaces—corridors, stairwells, and later, elevators—of often indeterminate status. These spaces were part of the building but not of its residential units, and occupied an unstable intermediate position between the private space behind closed apartment doors and the public space outside the building. Revisions of German building codes reveal the increasing attention paid to the stairwell—das Treppenhaus—a word increasingly frequent in common parlance beginning in the 1850s.¹...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 263-294)
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 295-306)
  10. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 307-308)
  11. ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
    (pp. 309-309)