Water Elevator

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I heard a while back of a water elevator. There were only a couple in the world but they worked great. They were slower then common elevators but were able to lift more weight since the water pressure would allow for greater weights beacuse it was water lifting it then some weight. So what im basically asking is am I crazy and don't know what im talking about?

-- Dan (Spursfreek@yahoo.com), April 25, 2004


Water Hydros.

There are a probably quite a few out there. Currently we have 2 on service. Add a little soluble oil and 5 gallons of Sparkletts once a year, and all is well. One uses a rack valve, and one is a sidewalk elevator. The pressure/fluid conversions are the same as an oil hydraulic, but the only difference (other than age) is the pressure relief system. Basically, in one they drilled a hole in the ram, and in the other there's a groove in the ram. To test the relief, you run it up until water squirts out the side of the jack. Cheers!

-- Steve (magnevator@verizon.net), April 25, 2004.

There is a lot of history of water hydros in the highrise and low rise applications. The steam elevators turned out to be difficult to operate especially in the down direction and water hydros finally replaced them. Most were roped hydros 20 stories were common running up to 700 fpm with a main pump running in the engineering area driven by steam. These pumps ran many elevators and some buildings had a weekend pump that was smaller for less cars. Some of the jacks were vertical and horizontal. There were replaced by the electric motor driven elevtors but the direct action water hydro remained and it is a industry mystery why the switch over to oil hydros since water doesnt change viscocity and is not $5.00 per gallon.

-- Jim (elevator555@hotmail.com), April 26, 2004.

In Glasgow, Scotland, the big company was Glennie Lifts ( so my dad says). Utilising mains water pressure ( usually a British Standard of 22lbs per sq inch in old figures)this simply filled a large cylinder/ram unit with mains water.A rope was attached to a small weight and travelled THROUGH the car from a simple valve assy at the top of the shaft. Pulling downward on the rope attached to the valve filled the cylinder, raising the car. When the car reached the top landing level, a block attached to the rope hit the car roof, raising the rope to the neutral position on the valves. Similarly, pulling the rope upwards drained the water and when the car reached the bottom level, another block attached to the rope hit the underside of the car and closed the drain valve. These were common in most British cities within months of them having mains water supply.

-- theliftman (theliftman@hotmail.com), April 29, 2004.

I believe you are talking about the "Water Balance Elevator", if you call me or e-mail me I'll forward the limited information I have on this type of elevator of which only a handful were produced. Contrary to your statement they actually achieved very high speed and since they predated the overspeed governor this was a problem.

-- Patrick A. Carrajat (lickem@cblconsult.com), May 03, 2004.

I thought that the water balance elevator had a tank (cistern in U.S.) used as a counterbalance which filled & emptied as reqd? I'm possibly wrong though. Several Cliffside lifts in UK like this still working. best wishes. theliftman

-- theliftman (theliftman@hotmail.com), May 10, 2004.

I'm sorry this is being posted as an answer. I landed upon this discussion via Google, and don't really know how to post a question.

I recently became responsible for a "water balance elevator" and have several questions about its maintenance and operation.

Let me first provide something of an answer to one of the open items in your discussion however. This particular elevator does in fact have a cistern that contains the water that is pumped into the ram causing it to go up. When the down position is requested the water from the ram is allowed to flow back into the cistern.

This cistern and the water therein is one of my questions. The owner of the building (which my company leases) told me that I had to maintain a certain water level for the elevator to operate correctly. Indeed, the elevator will not reach the complete UP position if the cistern does not contain enough water to push the ram all the way up. I was also told that I needed to mix oil with the water in the cistern. How much and what kind of oil is a mystery to me. Does anyone have an answer for me there?

Additionally, I would like to ask if anyone has an explanation for the elevator operating at different speeds. Occasionally the speed of the lift is barely perceptible. This is sometimes corrected by taking the elevator back to the DOWN position and then trying to take it into the UP position again. The load appears to be irrelevant. I have wagered my best guess at an answer at the possibility of air in the system somehow. Any help here?

Finally, on rare occasions when the elevator reaches the zenith of the up position it will produce a "chugging" sound and the whole thing shakes for a few moments. This appears to be related to its achieving the proper level for the loading dock platform and the elevator floor to match, but again this is my best guess.

Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated, even rewarded with your choice of beverage! :-)

Sincerely, David G. Marsh dgrantdesigns@yahoo.com (Seattle, WA)

-- David Grant Marsh (dgrantdesigns@yahoo.com), June 03, 2004.

Hey Gang. I am the editor of the Louisiana Press-Journal in Louisiana, Mo. and we recently had a four story building get knocked down by heavy winds. The building had to be taken down to the third floor and the water elevator had to be removed. From what I have learned, there are only four (now three) of these in Missouri. They are very rare, but does anybody know how many were actually constructed in the U.S.?


-- Kurt (altoidman23k@excite.com), June 24, 2004.

Must have been some wind!!!!!!!!

-- dayle (daylebrenda@iprimus.com.au), June 26, 2004.

I am interested in constructing a water elevator for my home. 1 floor only. Using city water supply and dumping the excess in the drain. Anybody have plans for such a device. Seems simple to me.


-- John Jacob (jjacob@heearst.com), October 27, 2004.

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