|Visitors shouted in terror when Elisa Graves Otis demonstrated his newfangled â€śhoisting machineâ€ť at P.T. Barnumâ€™s New York Worldâ€™s Fair of 1853-1854. The elevator entrepreneur proved his engineering marvel could defy gravity by raising it above the crowd â€” and then slashing the rope that held it. The elevator stayed put, thanks to an ingenious safety mechanism. Today, the company Otis originally named the Union Elevator Works (to trade on his anti-slavery
beliefs in liberal New York) sells 80,000 elevators and escalators every year, with 1.5 million elevators and 100,000 escalators on the move in more than 200 countries around the world.