The Otis Elevator Company is an American company that develops, manufactures and markets elevators, escalators, moving walkways and related equipment. A pioneer in its field, Otis is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transportation systems, principally focusing on elevators, moving walkways and escalators.[1] 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 Winchester Mystery House, the Hotel del Coronado, the Demarest Building (first electric elevator), the Singing Tower at Bok Tower Gardens and the Skylon Tower.


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.

In 1852 Elisha Otis invented the safety elevator, which automatically comes to a halt if the hoisting rope breaks. After a demonstration at the 1854 New York World's Fair the elevator industry established credibility.[2]

Otis elevator installation at Winchester Mystery House

Otis was founded in Yonkers, New York in 1853 by Elisha Otis. It was acquired by United Technologies in 1976 and is a wholly owned subsidiary. Otis has more than 64,000 employees, with 2014 revenue of US$13.0 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. That partnership has since ended.

Otis Elevator Company purchased Evans Lifts in the UK when Evans Lifts Ltd went bankrupt in 1997 during its merge with Express Lift Company with the name ExpressEvans. It 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 some installations of Evans Lifts in use today. Few lifts made by Otis are branded as Evans. Notably, an original Evans Lift is still in the Silver Arcade in Leicester. It formerly transported people to the upper floors. The upper floors are no longer occupied: the lift is no longer used.


Series 1

Series 1 is fairly common, and is normally seen in Otis Elevonic 401 and some hydraulic elevators in the early 1980s up to the mid-2000s. It has a very distinctive look. Older Series 1 buttons are flush with the panel. It has black plastic trim with either a silver or bronze face plate. The indicator is slanted down towards the floor. Some elevators may also have a slanted up panel with some or all of the floor buttons on it. There is also flat Series 1, with a flat panel, and no plastic around the edge of the panel. The indicator is green and is often a digital, but sometimes a segment indicator is used for buildings with four floor or less. Two vertical rows of floor buttons are used on hydraulic elevators, and three vertical rows of floor buttons, and the bottom part of the panel slanted forward are used on traction elevators, and also very rarely on hydraulic elevators. This information does not apply for flat Series 1. In the mid 1990s, Otis Series 1 fixtures were redesigned. The buttons now protrude from the panel, analog indicators were completely dropped, the door open/close buttons were made white from green, and the alarm button was made white from yellow. Otis also called these their "Advanced Fixtures".

Otis Series 1 fixtures were discontinued by the mid-2000s, but are still offered for custom installations.


These are white round buttons that light up when pressed. These fixtures were made from the late 1980s-mid 1990s and are quite rare. These fixtures are part of the Series 1 line, and made out of Lexan.

Custom Series 2

This is a special release.


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.[9]
  • On December 14, 2010, an Otis escalator installed in the International Trade station of Shenzhen Metro Line 1 retrograded without notice, triggering a stampede that injured 25 passengers.[10]
  • On July 5, 2011, an Otis 513MPE escalator installed at port A of Beijing Subway Line 4 Zoo Station 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."[11] Shenzhen Metro authorities confirmed that the cause of the accident was also similar to the Shenzhen accident on December 14.[10]
  • In March 2017 eighteen people suffered injuries at a Hong Kong's Langham Place shopping mall when an escalator maintained by Otis reversed direction from up to down.[12][13]


In February 2007, European Union regulators fined Otis Elevator €225 million for being part of a price-fixing cartel on the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg and German market. Competitors ThyssenKrupp, Schindler Group, Kone and Mitsubishi Elevator Europe were also fined similar amounts in the same cartel.[14]

Biggest contracts

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


Headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut

In 1867, Otis opened a factory in Yonkers, New York, the city where the company was founded.[16] The Yonkers factory closed in 1983.[17][18] The former plant was later purchased by Kawasaki for use as a rail car assembly plant.[19]

Otis opened a factory in Bloomington, Indiana in 1965.[20] Beginning in 2011, Otis cut its manufacturing operations in Nogales and supply-chain operations in Tucson, Arizona as part of a consolidation of manufacturing operations in Florence, South Carolina,[21] where Otis purchased a former Maytag facility on 92 acres.[22] As part of the consolidation, Otis shut down its Bloomington facility in 2012.[23] The Florence facility is nearly 500,000 square feet in size; it opened with about 360 employees and grew to about 700 employees as of 2017.[22]

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


  1. ^ "Otis Fact Sheet 2011-2" (PDF). otisworldwide.com. 
  2. ^ "Elisha Graves Otis". Invent Now. Retrieved December 18, 2007. 
  3. ^ "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 ... 
  4. ^ "Otis Elevator Re-elects Board. At the meeting of the Otis Elevator Company yesterday the directors were re-elected". New York Times. April 28, 1925. W. D. Baldwin, Chairman of the board, ... 
  5. ^ "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. ... 
  6. ^ "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 ... 
  7. ^ "United Technologies Corp. Names New President at Otis Elevator Co". 
  8. ^ "United Technologies Appoints Judy Marks as President of Otis". 
  9. ^ "Worker Dies & Passengers Trapped For Hours After Elevator Accident At TD Towers". CityNews. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "China subway stampede leaves 25 injured". china.org.cn. 
  11. ^ "China Halts Use of Otis Escalator Model After Deadly Accident". Bloomberg News. July 8, 2011. 
  12. ^ CNN, Karina Tsui and Elizabeth Joseph,. "2 mechanics arrested after escalator malfunction". 
  13. ^ "At least 18 hurt in mall escalator accident". 27 March 2017. 
  14. ^ Brand, Constant (February 21, 2007). "Europeans slap $1.3 billion price-fixing fine on 5 elevator makers, including Otis". USA Today. 
  15. ^ a b Reporter, B. S. (2013-10-23). "Hyd metro contract is largest for Otis". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2015-04-29. 
  16. ^ Dan Robbins, Founded In Yonkers, Otis Elevators Took American Industry To New Heights, Westchester Magazine (September 2014).
  17. ^ James Feron, Otis Elevator to Leave Birthplace, New York Times (December 1, 1982).
  18. ^ Workers at the Otis Elevator Plant, United Press International (June 16, 1983).
  19. ^ Thomas J. Lueck, In Yonkers, Kawasaki Offers Hope, New York Times (April 17, 1987).
  20. ^ https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Otis-Elevator-to-close-plant-in-Indiana-11690266.php Otis Elevator to close plant in Indiana], Associated Press (December 7, 2003).
  21. ^ Otis Elevator Co. to curtail Nogales operations, Inside Tucson Business (October 22, 2011).
  22. ^ a b Joshua Lloyd, Otis Elevator outgrowing its Florence facility; expansion coming, officials say, The Morning News (July 10, 2017).
  23. ^ Ernest Rollins, Closures manufacturer looking to expand to former Otis Elevator site, The Herald-Times (September 23, 2017).

External links