Otis Elevator Company

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Otis Elevator Company
Subsidiary of UTC
Industry Vertical Transport Systems
Founded 1853 (acquired in 1976)
Headquarters Farmington, Connecticut, U.S.
Products Elevators and Escalators
Revenue $11.6 billion (2010)
Number of employees
Approximately 61,000
Website otis.com

The Otis Elevator Company is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transportation systems, principally focusing on elevators and escalators.[1] Founded in Yonkers, New York, United States, in 1853 by Elisha Otis, 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 Hotel del Coronado, the "Pizza Elevator" at Lake Point Tower, and the Skylon Tower.

Statistically, Otis is the world's most popular transportation company.[2] It is estimated that the equivalent of the world's population travel in Otis elevators, escalators and moving walkways every three days. According to United Technologies, Otis elevators carry the equivalent of the world's population every nine days.[3]

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 was acquired by United Technologies in 1976 and is a wholly owned subsidiary. Otis has over 61,000 employees, with 2007 revenue of US$11.885 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, however the partnership has since ended.

Otis Elevator Company purchased Evans Lifts in the UK. Evans Lifts Ltd. 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 still some installations of Evans Lifts being used today. Notably, an original Evans Lift is still in the Silver Arcade in Leicester. It formerly transported people to the upper floors, but the upper floors are no longer occupied so the lift is no longer used.

Gen2 elevator[edit]

Otis entered the machine-room-less market with the introduction of the Gen2 elevator system. Otis designed a system that employs flat polyurethane-coated steel belts that replace the heavy, woven steel cables which had been the industry standard since the late 19th century. The belts are approximately 3 mm (0.1 inch) thick and allow for a smaller sheave than conventional elevators. Together with a redesigned machine, this allows the machine to be mounted within the hoistway itself.

The Gen2 elevator is Otis' machine-room-less competitor to the Mitsubishi Elenessa and DiamondTrac; Kone EcoDisc; Schindler 400A and 3300; ThyssenKrupp Synergy; and Fujitec Talon.

President and chairman[edit]

Elisha Graves Otis


  • 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.[8]
  • On July 5, 2011, an Otis 513MPE escalator installed at port A of Beijing Subway Line 4 Zoo Station escalator 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."[10] Shenzhen Metro authorities confirmed that the cause of the accident was also similar to the Shenzhen accident on December 14.[9]


In February 2007, European Union regulators fined Otis Elevator 225 million Euros for being part of a price-fixing cartel on the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg and German market.[11] Competitors ThyssenKrupp, Schindler Group, Kone and Mitsubishi Elevator Europe were also fined similar amounts in the same cartel.[12]

Biggest contracts[edit]

In October 2013, Otis won its biggest ever contract,[13] it will supply 670 elevators and escalators to the Hyderabad Metro.[14] Its 2nd biggest contract was in 2012 to supply 349 elevators for the Hangzhou metro.[15]


Headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut
The floor indicator in an Otis elevator at Port Charlotte High School

Otis opened a factory in Bloomington, Indiana in 1965. During the 1990s they moved some manufacturing operations from Bloomington to Nogales, Mexico. In 2012 and 2013, Bloomington and Nogales manufacturing operations were consolidated in Florence, SC. They still use some office space at the Bloomington site.

Otis had a factory in Yonkers, New York. It was closed in 1983 and is now a Kawasaki rail car assembly plant.

Otis had a large factory in Harrison, New Jersey.

In 1999, Otis acquired CemcoLift, Inc, located in Hatfield, PA. 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, CT and a Service Center in Bloomfield, CT that serve its businesses in North and South America. Other test towers and service centers are located throughout the world.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.otisworldwide.com/pdf/Otis_Fact_Sheet_2011-2.pdf
  2. ^ UTC Fact Sheet[dead link]
  3. ^ "Otis Marks 150th Anniversary of the Modern Elevator: April 1, 2003".[dead link]
  4. ^ "Pay Raised". Time magazine. December 13, 1926. Retrieved 2009-08-18. The Board of Arbitration met the end of October. On it sat For the railroads: ... For the public: William Delavan Baldwin, chairman, Otis Elevator Co., and Edgar Erastus Clark, onetime (1906-21) I. C. C. commissioner ... 
  5. ^ New York Times. April 28, 1925. Otis Elevator Re-elects Board. At the meeting of the Otis Elevator Company yesterday the directors were re-elected. W. D. Baldwin, Chairman of the board, ...  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  6. ^ "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. ... 
  7. ^ "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 ... 
  8. ^ Worker Dies & Passengers Trapped For Hours After Elevator Accident At TD Towers - CityNews
  9. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "China Halts Use of Otis Escalator Model After Deadly Accident". Bloomberg News. July 8, 2011. 
  11. ^ "EU Commission gets green light to claim damages from cartel". Reuters. November 6, 2012. 
  12. ^ Brand, Constant (February 21, 2007). "Europeans slap $1.3 billion price-fixing fine on 5 elevator makers, including Otis". USA Today. 
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ [4]

External links[edit]