The Origins of the Dumbwaiter

When it comes to the elevator industry it is important to remember that it spans far and wide which means that each type of elevator will have its own different origin story. For example, Elisha Graves Otis may be credited with inventing the emergency break for residential and commercial elevators however the dumbwaiter is an entirely different contraption. Here is everything you need to know about the origins of the dumbwaiter…

Many people are unaware that the dumbwaiter has actually been around since the age of the Romans! After all, they may have lived during 200BC but they still had to move things between different floors. The term ‘dumbwaiter’ itself was coined because the lifts were first used in large rich houses where the kitchen was found in the basement or servants quarters so the waiters were silent and never seen. Plus, since dishes and food had to be transported between the different floors, it was more practical to use a dumbwaiter.

Of course, the dumbwaiters that were used hundreds of years ago were more practically designed than aesthetic as they were often operated by a rope and pulley in order to lift the dumbwaiter to the required floor and lower it back down again. Of course, the introduction of an electric motor in the 1920’s and other modern 21st century adaptions now means that a simple press of a button can do all the work for us.

Interestingly the dumbwaiter has also creeped out of the kitchen during its lifetime and in 1957, a play write called Harold Pinter wrote a play that was called ‘The Dumb Waiter’ which takes place in a basement kitchen and focuses on a dumbwaiter which delivers mysterious food orders.

Although the dumbwaiter may seem like an old fashion addition you may only find in Buckingham Palace, it is actually an integral part of the service industry. In fact, whilst the days of rope hauling may be behind us, modern adaptions mean that heated cabins, safety locks and contamination prevention is something that dumbwaiters can provide.

When it comes to dumbwaiters, the team here at Sheridan Lifts are looking to make the lives of our customers easier. After all, the biggest benefit they offer is their ability to increase employee productivity in service industries like hotels and restaurants. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of the Sheridan Lifts team today!