Living in a Barrel

Escalator_Maastunnel Maastunnel Escalators, Rotterdam. Photo: RM

How did a fairground attraction become an important tool of urban renewal?

The first escalator was installed in 1897 at Coney Island, New York, as a fairground attraction. It’s inventor, Charles Seeberger worked at elevator manufacturer Otis, thet produced the first commercial escalator for the World Expo of 1900 in Paris. The first escalator In the Netherlands appeared in 1926, in the new building of the department store De Bijenkorf in The Hague. It was a real sensation, initially still seen more as an attraction rather than as means of transport. For months, here were long lines in the store, with people waiting to take a ride on the escalator.

the first escalator Left: the first escalator at Coney Island. Right; “Stand right, walk left”


Escalators are designed to bring at the same time a large number of people from one floor to another. The capacity goes up…

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