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Otis Elevator Company

Otis Elevator Company

An Otis escalator

An Otis escalator

The Otis Elevator Company is an American company (owned by United Technologies) that develops, manufactures and markets elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and related equipment. Based in Farmington, Connecticut, Otis is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transportation systems, principally focusing on elevators, moving walkways, and escalators.[2] The company pioneered the development of the "safety elevator", invented by Otis in 1852, which used a special mechanism to lock the elevator car in place should the hoisting ropes fail.

Otis has installed elevators in some of the world's most famous structures, including the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, the original World Trade Center, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Petronas Twin Towers, Burj Khalifa, CN Tower, the Winchester Mystery House, the Hotel del Coronado, the Demarest Building (first electric elevator), the Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens, and the Skylon Tower.

Otis Elevator Company
IndustryVertical transport systems
Founded1853(acquired in 1976)
68,078 (2017)[1]
ParentUnited Technologies


Otis elevator in Glasgow, Scotland, imported from the U.S. in 1856 for Gardner's Warehouse, the oldest cast-iron fronted building in the British Isles.

Otis elevator in Glasgow, Scotland, imported from the U.S. in 1856 for Gardner's Warehouse, the oldest cast-iron fronted building in the British Isles.

In 1852 Elisha Otis invented the safety elevator, which automatically comes to a halt if the hoisting rope breaks. After a demonstration at the 1854 New York World's Fair the elevator industry established credibility.[3]

The Otis Elevator Company was founded in Yonkers, New York in 1853 by Elisha Otis. When Elisha died in 1861, his sons Charles and Norton formed a partnership and continued the business. During the American Civil War, their elevators were in high demand due to the shipment of war materials. Businesses throughout the United States purchased them. In 1864, with the partnership of J.M. Alvord, the company became known as Otis Brothers & Co. [4]

In 1925, the world's first fully automatic elevator, Collective Control, was introduced.

It was acquired by United Technologies in 1976 and is a wholly owned subsidiary. Otis has more than 64,000 employees, with 2014 revenue of US$13.0 billion. The company headquarters are located in Farmington, Connecticut.

Otis has also dabbled in horizontal automated people-mover "shuttle" systems, such as the Otis Hovair. In 1996, Otis formed a joint venture called "Poma-Otis Transportation Systems" with the French company Pomagalski to promote these products. That partnership has since ended.

Otis Elevator Company purchased Evans Lifts in the UK when Evans Lifts Ltd went bankrupt in 1997 during its merge with Express Lift Company with the name ExpressEvans. It was the oldest and largest manufacturer of lift equipment in the UK, and was based in Leicester, England. Otis' Customer Care Centre is still based in the old Evans Lifts building in Leicester. The building has since been extended by Otis.

There are some installations of Evans Lifts in use today.

Few lifts made by Otis are branded as Evans.

Notably, an original Evans Lift is still in the Silver Arcade in Leicester.

It formerly transported people to the upper floors.

The upper floors are no longer occupied: the lift is no longer used.

United Technologies will be divesting Otis Elevator into an independent company, announced on November 26, 2018.[5]


Elisha Graves Otis

Elisha Graves Otis

  • Elisha Graves Otis and Susan A. Houghton, circa 1853

  • Charles R. Otis, circa 1867[6]

  • Norton P. Otis, circa 1890[7]

  • William Delavan Baldwin, circa 1926[8][9]

  • Percy L. Douglas, 1927 to 1964[10]

  • Fayette S. Dunn, 1964 to ?[11]

  • Francois Jaulin, 1981 to 1985

  • Karl J. Krapek, 1989-1991

  • Jean-Pierre van Rooy, 1991-1997

  • Steve Page, 1997 to 2002

  • Ari Bousbib, 2002 to 2008

  • Didier Michaud-Daniel, 2008 to 2012

  • Pedro Sainz de Baranda, 2012 to 2014[12]

  • Philippe Delpech, 2015 to 2017

  • Judy Marks, 2017 to present[13]



  • On July 24, 2009, a group of 8 people were trapped for 8 hours in an Otis elevator in Toronto. A repair man who tried to fix the elevator fell 10 floors to his death.[14]

  • On December 14, 2010, an Otis escalator installed in the International Trade station of Shenzhen Metro Line 1 retrograded without notice, triggering a stampede that injured 25 passengers.[15]

  • On July 5, 2011, an Otis 513MPE escalator installed at port A of Beijing Subway Line 4 Zoo Station changed direction without notice, causing 30 people to fall. One boy was killed and 27 people injured, prompting China to halt the use of the escalator model. A Beijing official called the 513MPE escalator "defects in design, manufacturing and maintenance," and Otis had "unavoidable responsibility for the accident."[16] Shenzhen Metro authorities confirmed that the cause of the accident was also similar to the Shenzhen accident on December 14.[15]

  • In March 2017 eighteen people suffered injuries at a Hong Kong's Langham Place shopping mall when an escalator maintained by Otis reversed direction from up to down.[17][18]

  • On July 9, 2018 a one year old Otis escalator at Stockholm City Station changed direction from up to a rapid descent, in what local officials called a "free fall"[19], causing minor injuries. Inspection of the gear boxes of several Otis escalators revealed unexpected rust and heavy wear. This led to the newly-built train stations Stockholm City Station and Stockholm Odenplan being temporarily closed for security reasons, on July 13, 2018 until the problems have been understood and resolved.[20][21] The temporary outage has been extended to the third quarter of 2019.

In February 2007, European Union regulators fined Otis Elevator €225 million ($295.8 million) for being part of a price-fixing cartel in the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg, and German markets. Competitors ThyssenKrupp, Schindler Group, KONE, and Mitsubishi Elevator Europe were also fined for participating in the same cartel.[22]

Biggest contracts

In October 2013, Otis won its biggest ever contract; it will supply 670 elevators and escalators to the Hyderabad Metro.[23] Its second biggest contract was in 2012, to supply 349 elevators for the Hangzhou metro.[23]


Headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut

Headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut

In 1867, Otis opened a factory in Yonkers, New York, the city where the company was founded.[24] The Yonkers factory closed in 1983.[25][26] The former plant was later purchased by Kawasaki for use as a rail car assembly plant.[27]

Otis opened a factory in Bloomington, Indiana in 1965.[28] Beginning in 2011, Otis cut its manufacturing operations in Nogales and supply-chain operations in Tucson, Arizona as part of a consolidation of manufacturing operations in Florence, South Carolina,[29] where Otis purchased a former Maytag facility on 92 acres.[30] As part of the consolidation, Otis shut down its Bloomington facility in 2012.[31] The Florence facility is nearly 500,000 square feet in size; it opened with about 360 employees and grew to about 700 employees as of 2017.[30]

Otis had a large factory in Harrison, New Jersey.

In 1999, Otis acquired CemcoLift, Inc, located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. The operation was later closed in October 2012, with the remaining business being sold to Minnesota Elevator Inc.

Otis has a test tower facility in Bristol, Connecticut and a Service Center in Bloomfield, Connecticut that serve its businesses in North and South America. Other test towers and service centers are located throughout the world.

See also

  • Otis Elevating Railway

  • List of elevator manufacturers


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Citation Linkselect.nytimes.com"President Elected For Otis Elevator". New York Times. October 26, 1964. Retrieved 2009-08-18. Fayette S. Dunn The Otis Elevator Company over the weekend the election of Fayette S. Dunn as president and director, succeeding the late Percy L. Douglas. ...
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Citation Linkwww.nytimes.com"Fayette Dunn, 76, Dies. Otis Elevator's Ex-Head". New York Times. December 12, 1979. Retrieved 2009-08-18. Fayette S. Dunn, former president and chairman of the board of the Otis Elevator Company, died yesterday in Dorset, Vt., where he had lived since his ...
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Citation Linkwww.utc.com"United Technologies Appoints Judy Marks as President of Otis".
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