Small Elevator, Big Personality
A Las Vegas private-residence elevator calls for modern technology and a vintage design.
by Farid Waleh
When a customer wanted to build their dream home in Las Vegas, they wanted an Old World elevator reminiscent of bygone days when a home elevator was a novelty. They wanted a wrought-iron cab and entrances to match a special pattern they had in mind. Of course, there had to be clear glass panels behind the wrought iron for safety reasons. In short, they wanted all the safety features and ride quality of a modern elevator but with the charm of yesteryear.
Due to the unusual size of the shaft — the front-to-back dimension was much larger than the side-to-side dimension— it was decided that the jack would be located in the center of gravity, and the rails would be on the back. The frame is a cantilever type that holds the car and moves it up and down the shaft on sliding guide shoes. For support, the architect provided 4-X-6-ft structural tubes in the back to support the rails. The shaft is surrounded by stairs, so there is no other support for the rails. Normally, the rails would be aligned with the jack on each side of the car, but in this case, they had to be placed in the back.
Custom Cabs Inc. worked with the architect and installer to perfect the design in the existing area allotted for the elevator. Larry Miller of EasyLift was instrumental in the success of this project, as he gave the precise measurements and the location of the predrilled hole for the jack to make everything go right, from design phase to installation.
The elevator is small in size but not in personality. The frames are all pivoted, so the glass can be cleaned from inside the car. In keeping with the Old World charm, the car gate is a scissor-type manual gate. The hall doors are also wrought iron with glass backing for safety. The cab, entrances and shaft equipment were painted black, which gives them an antique look.
Each panel was hand-forged to a specifc design in the Custom Cabs factory and ftted in the individual frame with pivots on all panels. The hall doors were made similarly hand-forged with glass backing. The patterns on the panels were not the usual bars seen on this type of car; they were curved into very intricate patterns. Custom Cabs made precise, full-scale templates and forged each piece to conform to those patterns.
The diference between a good and bad design is the details. An elevator in a house is a convenience. This one also makes a statement.