Profile America — Wednesday, August 22nd. Big city hotels as we know them would not be possible without elevators — guests simply would not walk up countless flights of stairs with their luggage. This week in 1859, the first hotel with an elevator opened in New York City, an elegant structure called the Fifth Avenue Hotel. It was six stories high. Its elevator did not use cables, but cars carried guests to upper floors atop a solid, screw-like mechanism, called a "vertical screw railway." The first modern, electric elevator did not come along for another 30 years, also in New York City. Today, making elevators and escalators in the U.S. generates $2.6 billion a year in revenue. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Kane's Famous First Facts, 2107, 2109 2007 Economic Census, NAICS 333921
Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on a monthly CD or on the Internet at http://www.census.gov (look for "Multimedia Gallery" by the "Newsroom" button).