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Drawing of the Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace, where Otis made his safety elevator demonstration

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Otis Opened Elevator Factory
September 20, 1853

Otis staged a public demonstration. He climbed on top of his elevator in New York's Crystal Palace exhibition, and while hoisted to the ceiling, ordered the rope cut. Seeing how his safety brake kept him from falling, people realized the importance of his invention. Though in 1856, Otis's sales totaled just 27 elevators, his performance launched the passenger elevator industry. The world's first safety elevator for passengers, installed in 1857 in a New York store, rose at a speed of 40 feet per minute. How does that compare to today's elevators?
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