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Where are the elevator operators?

Are there still any elevator operators in existence? Y'know, that dude that would be in the elevator and upon entering you say, "14th floor please." When did those guys start losing their jobs? It's like the caboose on trains. The caboose disappeared in the mid 1980s once railroads like the Union Pacific adopted use of the "End of Train" or "EOT" devices.

By Matt Maldre on Apr 05, 05 | 4:00 am  |   [17422] Hits  |  Elevators permalink | archives

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I believe the Garland Building still has them, but then again, it's been a while since I've been in the Garland Building ... [maybe 2 years since going to Heaven on Seven with a friend].

Posted by: Tom on Apr 05, 05 | 8:59 am

wasn't it much more difficult operate elevators in the old days... with cranks and switches and stuff?

Posted by: unlikelymoose on Apr 05, 05 | 11:19 am

i saw a caboose the other day... on a really short freight train... it was zipping by a really long freight train.

Posted by: lwells on Apr 05, 05 | 12:30 pm

tom, Heaven on Seven? the cajun place? they got (or used to have) an elevator with a elevator operator? Really? You sure it wasn't just someone pretending to be an elevator operator? That would be fun. Go up and down for maybe 30 minutes or so and pretend. Get all dressed up like the dude in the photo of this post.

Posted by: spudart on Apr 05, 05 | 8:34 pm

Yes! The Garland Building! I now remember that many years ago they had elevator operators in the elevators. After a while, the elevator operator was still employed, but wouldn't ride the elevator. He would only push the buttons ... which is kinda weird. He would push the button to call the elevator, get everybody in the car and ask which floors they were going to and push the respective buttons then get out before the doors closed! If you think about it, it's almost like their jobs were being phased out even then.

I think you would love playing "elevator operator", Spud! It would really appeal to the button pusher in you!! :^P

Posted by: Tom on Apr 06, 05 | 4:25 am

Has any one seen or knows of an old A B See elevator with a pedistal operator instead of buttons on a control panel? If so where?


Posted by: Alva on Jun 05, 06 | 10:38 pm

There are still elvator operators in the larger department stores in Japan. Usually a young lady in a cute uniform with a with a had. Over there they have jobs for all kinds a little things you used to have in America. It was a pleasant experience over in Japan. I really wish we had those kinds of jobs still. It put a nice little personal touch on things.

Posted by: Chris on Jul 12, 06 | 4:06 am

They still exist in NYC public schools.
They operate elevators for students.

Posted by: Linda on May 15, 07 | 10:39 am

Thanks Linda! That's really neat that NYC still plays it old school. I'm assuming the pratical purpose is that so the kids don't goof around or do anything bad in the elevators.

Posted by: spudart on May 15, 07 | 10:48 am

There is still an elevator operator in Warren Ohio at the Chase towers building.

Posted by: jackie on Jun 29, 07 | 9:15 pm

Jackie, would you be able to snap of photo of this elevator operator? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. :-)

Posted by: spudart on Jun 29, 07 | 9:43 pm

I sure can. My boyfriend is the operator.

Posted by: Jackie on Jul 02, 07 | 6:49 am

Alva --

If you are still watching this thread, I live in a residential building in Washington DC that has a manually-operated A B See elevator. We don't have a dedicated operator, but our front desk staff have the duty to run the elevator in addition to minding the door.

Contact me at james_holm (at) msn dot com if you are interested in photos of our elevator.

-- JSH

Posted by: on Aug 28, 07 | 9:36 pm


Posted by: S OSBORNE on Jan 10, 09 | 2:04 pm

There still are elevator operators at the Calgary Public Building in Calgary, Canada. We love them, super friendly.

Posted by: Lindsey on Jul 17, 09 | 12:49 pm

i run an elevator in the Ansonia building in NY thats been in operation since 1902. its manual and has a big A B See panel on the front with years of paint over it. im sure if you scrubbed the paint it would reveal some nice brass finish but theres no time for that. if your in town lemme know and you can come check it out.

Posted by: craig on Jul 30, 09 | 10:16 pm

The Kansas State Capital Building (in Topeka Kansas) renovation will be completed (several hundred million dollars) in a little over a year. The original elevaor with an operator who manually opens the door has been restored and is operational. The Capital Building was rebuilt to be true to its original design of the 1860s and early 1900s when it was completed. The renovated capital is a must visit site for anyone remotely near Topeka.

Posted by: Ben Nelson on Sep 03, 10 | 9:14 pm

We still Have an elevator operator in Klamath Falls Oregon at the historic Oregon bank building. It is beleved that the elevator is the last one on the west coast. It is in original condition from 1930.

Posted by: dave on Sep 15, 11 | 3:22 pm

Dave, that's so cool! Do you know how long he's been working in that building in Oregon?

Posted by: spudart on Sep 15, 11 | 3:31 pm

The elevator has been manualy operated since 1930 non stop I was just hired to operate it and its the coolest job I have ever had. There is something about having to close the outer doors manualy then the gate on the inside and turning the handle that engages that fantastic machine up and down that just gives me a real threal. Its also challenging to get the floor to line up with the floor of the elevator its sometimes like an Lucy episode.

Posted by: dave on Sep 15, 11 | 5:50 pm

The elevator has been running ever since 1930. I was hired last month and I have been having a blast. its a real challenge to get the floor to line up with the floor plate of the lift. Somtimes I feel like a Lucy episode "please step up" "please step down". I'm getting better at it I can push the excellerator bar just enough to line up everything just about even now.

Posted by: dave on Sep 16, 11 | 8:38 am

Hi. I'm Matt Maldre. Every single weekday my blog on has a new post with an original idea or discovery. Be sure to stop by daily to see what's happening.

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