The Lift (03 Jul 2004)
It has been part of our lives for longer than any of us can remember but the ramification of the safety lift's invention in 1852 by Elisha Otis, are still being felt today. Buildings are safer and getting higher, while life is increasingly faster due to continued advances in elevator technology. At least that's how the PR blurb goes. The everyday experience of using the lift is quite the opposite - they seem to take forever to arrive and then, like buses, 3 of them come all at the same time; everyone feels slightly uncomfortable in them, particularly late at night or if they stop between floors. This has provided endless material for fiction writers, directors of horror films and television comedy - the lift is an essential prop throughout popular culture. Lynne Truss takes a tongue in cheek look at the history of this invention - for starters, we'd be a whole lot fitter without them if we all took the stairs. She examines how they have come to control our lives, our fears and offers her own guide to lift etiquette.
Article URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/indispensables.shtml
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