Elevators with no buttons, doors or stops


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/14/elevators-with-no-buttons-doo.html


My old employers had a building with a paternoster in it. Most people took the stairs…

The building has since been demolished, more’s the pity.


They were quite a few of those death traps in older office buildings and city halls ten years ago. They removed the last one in the city hall of the city where I work just 2 or 3 years ago.


Pretty disappointed that I’ve been inside that exact space in Prague and missed this thing. Damnit.


Apparently there are a lot of these things still being in use in Germany:

I’m seriously impressed that the Staatlichen Ämter für Arbeitsschutz (StÄfA) (something like OSHA) don’t throw a fit about it.


It’s so quiet.


The Czech Republic has great healthcare, apparently, so maybe you get to keep your house, car, and other worldly possessions if you shatter important bones. So that’s something.


These remind me of Shabbat elevators that you see in Israel. They run continuously so nobody has to push any buttons.


Hey, what if we made a lift that was completely inaccessible to disabled people!


But they still use power that has to be generated somehow. Is the prohibition against electricity or just pushing buttons?


this was tried a couple of times, in 2004 and 2015. the public outcry was both times large enough that the decree vanished in thin air


Most are quite old, turn of the century (19th) or after WW2.


I’ve always wanted to ride on one of those. Never encountered one.


I saw an even simpler and scarier version of this years ago in a San Francisco multi-story car garage. It was a vertical conveyor belt with handles and foot platforms. It was for the garage attendants, who waited for the right time and jumped on. Seemed pretty dangerous at the time.


That looks almost as dangerous as the man lift I discovered on NYC’s music row in a parking garage. It’s still in use, but the building will likely go away in the next couple years. http://musingsonpoint.blogspot.com/2008/03/mmmman-lift.html


Good question, that’s a matter of controversy for the reason you identified.


I’m not yet old and frail but the first thing I thought of is how hard it would be to negotiate this thing if I were.


My first trip to Tel Aviv was comical. I had no idea about shabbat and I made a damn fool of myself complaining about the hotel elevators not working.


As I was taught in Hebrew school. You can’t do work. But you can ask someone else to work for you. Something as mundane as pushing a button is considered work. But asking a non-jew to push the same button is not.

Athiesm became a viable option for me shortly after that.


I have a strong Jewish heritage but I’m not observant and not an expert on all things Jewish – I’ll try to explain as best as I understand about Shabbos elevators.

As I understand it, the prohibition is against various forms of work on the sabbath. This includes the operation of electrical equipment – which is interpreted as being part of the prohibition against creating sparks or fire.

The loophole is if the elevator (or appliance, or whatever) is already running, then it’s fine to use – just like if you get on an elevator that’s already set for your floor or if someone pushes a button for you (but you can’t just outright ask someone to press a button for you, you have to use Jedi mind tricks).

As with many matters of Jewish law (there’s an old joke along the lines of “ask two rabbis a question, get three different answers”) there’s controversy here.