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November 18, 2008
2:12 am
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I was Wikipedia-surfing during a break in class tonight. Looking up elevators led me to somewhat unusual kind of elevator: the paternoster

Also known as a cyclic elevator, a paternoster is an elevator made of open compartments mounted on a continuously-moving chain. The name comes from its being looped like a rosary (and possibly from the urge to say a quick prayer if you're nervous about stepping onto or off of a moving elevator car :-) ). Paternosters used to be fairly common in Europe (because they can move more people per unit time than a standard elevator), particularly in colleges and univertities, but most have been shut down due to safety concerns. There are still a few around, though -- some on the Continent (particularly in Germany and parts of eastern Europe), and a few in the UK (at the Universities of Sheffield, Essex, and Leicester).

More about them at Wikipedia and TheElevatorMuseum.org.

There are also lots of YouTube videos of them. Here are a few:

Paternoster, a Cyclic Elevator -- Attenborough Tower, University of Leicester, UK

The Paternoster Experience -- Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex, UK

Germen Elevator -- an old wood-paneled paternoster in Germany

Höhen und Tiefen (ups and downs/) -- a 10-minute short film shot at the Stuttgart Rathaus (city hall), Stuttgart, Germany

der mahna mahna paternoster -- a silly video (set to the Muppets "Mahna Mahna" song) shot at the Volkshochschule in Köln (Cologne), Germany

Bob Geldof - "Love Or Something" -- a music video from 1990.
EDIT: Link updated

And there are a ton more where those came from. :-)

Too bad (but understandable) there aren't any paternosters on this side of the Atlantic.

Current Location: upstairs computer
Current Mood: amusedamused
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