Elevators With No Doors? One Man Didn't Like That Idea


Alexander Miles was an African-American inventor who was best known for being awarded a patent for an automatically opening and closing elevator door design in 1887.


While riding in an elevator in with his young daughter, Alexander Miles saw the risk associated with an elevator shaft door carelessly left ajar. If anyone forgot to close the shaft door, other passengers could fall down the shaft when expecting to step into the elevator. This led Miles to draft his design for automatically opening and closing elevator doors and apply for a patent. Miles invented a mechanism that triggered the shaft doors to open and close along with the elevator doors, making the ride safer. When the elevator would arrive or depart from a given floor, the doors would move automatically.



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