Stopping the Drop – Pioneer, Elisha Graves Otis

Elisha-OTIS-1854-Platform

Elisha Graves Otis (August 3, 1811 – April 8, 1861) was an American industrialist, founder of the Otis Elevator Company and inventor of a safety device that prevents elevators from falling if the hoisting cable fails.

Otis

Early years

Otis was born in Halifax, Vermont, to Stephen Otis and Phoebe Glynn. He moved away from home at the age of 19, eventually settling in Troy, New York, where he lived for five years employed as a wagon driver. In 1834, he married and went on to have two children, Charles and Norton. Later that year, Otis suffered a terrible case of pneumonia which nearly killed him, but he earned enough money to move his wife and three-year-old son to the Vermont Hills on the Green River.

He designed and built his own grist mill, but did not earn enough money from it, so he converted it into a saw mill, hoping for better results, but sadly it still didn’t attract customers. Now having a second son and needing to support his family, he started building wagons and carriages. His wife later died, leaving Otis with two sons, one at that time being age 8 and the other still in diapers.

Success and setback

At 34 years old and hoping for a fresh start, he re-married and moved to Albany, New York. He worked as a doll maker for Otis Tingely. Skilled as a craftsman and tired of working all day to make only twelve toys, he invented and patented a robot turner. It could produce bedsteads four times as fast as could be done manually (about fifty a day). His boss gave him a $500 bonus. Otis then moved into his own business. At his leased building, he started designing a safety brake that could stop trains instantly as well as an automatic bread baking oven.

He was put out of business when the stream he was using for a power supply was diverted by the city of Albany to be used for its fresh water supply. In 1851, having no more use for Albany, he first moved to Bergen City, New Jersey (now part of Jersey City) to work as a mechanic, then to Yonkers, New York, as a manager of an abandoned saw mill which he was supposed to convert into a bedstead factory.

Lasting success

At the age of 40, while he was cleaning up the factory, he wondered how he could get all the old debris up to the upper levels of the factory. He had heard of hoisting platforms, but these often broke, and he was unwilling to take the risks. He and his sons, who were also tinkerers, designed their own “safety elevator” and tested it successfully. He initially thought so little of it he neither patented it nor requested a bonus from his superiors for it, nor did he try to sell it. After having made several sales, and after the bedstead factory declined, Otis took the opportunity to make an elevator company out of it, initially called Union Elevator Works and later Otis Brothers & Co.

No orders came to him over the next several months, but soon after, the 1853 New York World’s Fair offered a great chance at publicity. At the New York Crystal Palace,

Otis amazed a crowd when he ordered the only rope holding the platform on which he was standing cut.

Elisha_OTIS_1854
Otis free-fall safety demonstration in 1854

The rope was severed by an axeman, and the platform fell only a few inches before coming to a halt. The safety locking mechanism had worked, and people gained greater willingness to ride in traction elevators; these elevators quickly became the type in most common usage and helped make present day skyscrapers possible.

Otis Elevator Shackle
“Otis Elevator Co. Shackle,” ICS Reference Library (1902).

After the World’s Fair, Otis received continuous orders, doubling each year. He developed different types of engines, like a three-way steam valve engine, which could transition the elevator between up to down and stop it rapidly.

Last years and death

In his spare time, he designed and experimented with his old designs of bread-baking ovens and train brakes, and patented a steam plow in 1857, a rotary oven in 1858, and, with Charles, the oscillating steam engine in 1860. Otis contracted diphtheria and died on April 8, 1861 at age 49.

Ref: Wikipedia

 

 

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Working Load Limit Vs. Breaking Strength

Working Load

When it comes to rigging like ratchet straps, winch straps, and just about any other type of strap in the industry, working load limit (WLL) and breaking strength are commonly used measuring metrics.

Every piece of load-bearing wire or rigging equipment carries its own working load limit and break strength rating. These numbers let the user know how much weight that piece of rigging is capable of securing. Though they are usually clearly stated, there is often some confusion about what the two terms mean.

Working Load Limit

WLL refers to the maximum allowed weight that a piece of rigging can handle under normal conditions. For instance, a winch strap with a WLL of 6,000 pounds should not be used to secure any load above that weight, as it exceeds what it is rated for. WLL is 1/3 of the breaking strength rating, therefore a strap with a WLL of 6,000 pounds would have a breaking strength of 18,000 pounds.

Break Strength

Break strength refers to the point at which any section of a given cargo strap or piece of rigging will f

ratchet-strap

ail. Break strength is determined by the weakest point of the rigging in question, whether it be the webbing, end fittings, or tensioning device.

For example, if a ratchet strap is made with end fittings, webbing, and a ratchet that are all rated for 10,000 pounds breaking strength, the overall strength of the product is 10,000 pounds. If any component of the ratchet strap has a lower breaking strength though, the break strength of the unit drops to the rating of the weakest component.

It is critical to understand the differences between the two figures and to make sure that any time you are securing a load, you do so with capable rigging. A failure could not only be costly, but dangerous as well.

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

 

 

Get to Know Our Trainers: Steve Hache, CD

Steve-Hache

Steve Hache, CD is one of our highly experienced Training Specialists. We sat down with him to find out more about him and how he decided to choose training as a career path.

Tell us about your educational background?

Steve: It was a dream of mine to pursue a career in the Canadian Armed Forces so, I joined the Royal Canadian Navy at 19 years old. In the 21 years of dedicated service in the RCN, I trained in and became qualified in a number of technical aspects ranging from complex seamanship evolutions, boarding operations, Steve Hachecrane operations, forklift operation, small arms, etc. to rigging and hoisting.

During my time as faculty with Nova Scotia Community College, I was introduced to the field of adult education and obtained my Community College Education Diploma (adult education – teaching, learning). I had an interest in safety so I successfully completed the Construction Safety Supervisor certification through Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association.

While I was employed with MSA Security in the United Arab Emirates I took courses in course design (HBI Learning Centers, Sydney, Australia) and adult education and assessment (Global Maritime And Transportation School, NY, USA).

What made you decide to go into this industry?

Steve: It made sense to continue with the field of safety and, rigging and hoisting since that’s what I was accustomed to. While I was in the RCN, there were constant opportunities to operate cranes or forklifts and perform rigging or hoisting tasks. Almost daily, we were called upon to remove or replace machinery out of engineering spaces, load or unload missiles, torpedoes, stores, operate cranes, etc., so, rigging and hoisting was a regular occurrence.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Steve: Upon retirement from the Royal Canadian Navy I accepted a job working for an American security company in the United Arab Emirates. There I would be exposed to a whole new and exciting culture, training their Coast Guard in seamanship, basic boat operations, tactical boat operations and maritime law enforcement. This was an extremely challenging and rewarding experience!

Experience-logos

After a couple of years in the UAE, I came home and accepted a temporary position at NSCC as faculty of the Marine-Industrial Rigging program where I was tasked with turning a part-time program into a full-time program. The faculty and staff of NSCC were first-rate! I learned a great deal from each and every one of them.

After my temporary position at the community college, I was employed as a training manager and fall protection trainer for Total Fall Protection. There I gained a great deal of experience in training and gained a huge appreciation for the wide variety of industries within the maritime provinces.

What made you want to transition into training?

Steve: Speaking to groups of people was not a difficult thing for me to do since I have been doing so ever since I entered the workforce. In the military, I had to brief command on, and supervise, complex seamanship evolutions, rigging operations, boat operations, etc. However, teaching and training didn’t come naturally. My first role as a trainer was in the Royal Canadian Navy where I was posted to the Bedford Rifle Range as a small arms instructor. Nervous at first, but I grew to love it! I actually enjoyed speaking in front of people!

From there, my career path has been based on speaking in front of groups of people.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

Steve: That’s easy – I have always appreciated the staff at Hercules SLR. When I was faculty at NSCC, they consistently treated myself and any student that I sent their way with the utmost respect and care. The program work terms that the students completed were extremely beneficial to them and also ended up with employment for a number of them. We developed and maintained a positive working relationship.

training

Where have you traveled during your time as a training specialist for Hercules SLR?

Steve: A great deal of the training that we deliver is based in the maritime provinces but we are able to deliver training anywhere in Canada. The majority of the training I’ve delivered is mainly in Nova Scotia but I’ve also delivered training in Ontario and New Brunswick as well.

Where have you enjoyed traveling to most for training?

Steve: Abu Dhabi, UAE was awesome!! I met a great deal of fantastic people there and would welcome any chance to go back.

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

Steve: I would love to travel back to British Columbia! Hercules SLR has branches across the country and I’ve always loved BC. Other than that, I’d love to go back to Europe, Australia, United States, or Asia.

Lastly, is there anything that you hope to accomplish during your career in the industry?

Steve: I am hoping to get more LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineering Association) courses under my belt to further my knowledge in the field. My main focus though is to continue to contribute to today’s safety culture.

Hercules SLR offers a wide array of safety training courses. Alongside our standard courses we can tailor make courses to suit your specific requirements, at our facility or yours. To find out more about our course and how we can help you raise the bar in safety training email us at: training@herculesslr.com

 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.