Can Your Business Use a Ratchet?

From the Pyramids of Giza across Tower of Babel to medieval towers in Europe there were people who wanted to feel closer to their God. Hence the construction of tall buildings throughout human history.

But there is a significant difference between those structures and the first commercial, lived-in buildings constructed during the Industrial Revolution.

Neither Pyramids of Giza nor medieval towers in Europe were homes to people. Perhaps an occasional member of the clergy would be required to climb these tall structures, but generally speaking, no one actually lived in these tall buildings.

And so it was for many centuries

There was an inverse relationship between tall structures and people living in them. Taller the building, less inhabitable it was.

The tallest buildings that people inhabited and lived in were no more than 5 stories tall.

And so it was until the mid 19th century

Elisha Graves Otis invented the first safety brake for elevators. In the Elevator game, this safety brake is commonly referred to as a Ratchet.

Otis demonstrates his safety elevator at the 1853 Worlds Fair

With his invention of a Safety Ratchet, he literally started the elevator industry AND spurred the creation of Skyscrapers.

Sure, there were elevator installations that pre-date Otis, but they didn’t “hook” as they climbed ever skyward so if the system of ropes and pulleys would break, it would spell disaster for the passengers.

It was Otis’ invention -this Ratchet- that spurred the revolution in building construction and made it feasible to build tall structures that people would in fact live and work in.

In 1857, the installation of the first passenger elevator in the Haughwout Department Store in New York City made it possible and practical to construct buildings more than four or five stories tall. Source.

Next time you ride on an elevator, take a look at the insignia inside the “cage”. Chances are, it will say “OTIS”.

Talk about a small little thing –the Ratchet- that changed the course of human history forever.

Can your business use a Ratchet?

Statistically, Otis is the world’s most popular transportation company. According to United Technologies, Otis elevators carry the equivalent of the world’s population every nine days. Source.

Can your business come up with a lever that will lift the entire civilization towards the sky?

Answer that question and you just might end up carrying the equivalent of the world’s population every nine days.

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Google Plus

  • TristanH

    Dino, I’m still not sure I get the gist of this post. “Can your business come up with a lever that will lift the entire civilization towards the sky?” Are you asking if a business can invent something that will create entirely new industries? That seems like kind of a big question, and not one that can be answered just by reading a cool story about elevators!

    Oh, and your photo caption says 1953, when I think you meant 1853? Man, I’m really good at catching these on others’ blogs but suck when they’re on my own 😀

    • Dino Dogan

      Dude..nice catch…Ive changed it…yes, imagine if Otis did his demo in 1953 lol he would be considered a lunatic …anyways

      Otis’ invention allowed architects to create skyscrapers. I thought that had HUGE implications for the rest of us. Similar thing happened in microwave industry. Having microwaves allowed food companies to create microwavable food.

      In other words, can you create something that will spur its own/new industry that depends on you/your product/your service?

      I think thats the questions Im asking lol …yeah…thats it…

      • TristanH

        Ok, that’s what I thought you were saying, and I just wanted to make sure. I like the question and the idea behind it, but things like inventing new industries don’t come along every day.

        This is something I need to think about more, I guess. How can I revolutionize my industry and create a new market in the process. Hmmm…

        • thefriendlyblogger

          If anyone can do that Tristan…you can! I believe that 🙂

          • TristanH

            Hahaha. Thanks, Lisa 😀 I’ve actually been thinking about the implications of my upcoming how-to-create infographics course. It’ll help pretty much anyone to create infographics. Not only will this be great for bloggers, but this can help people create entire new businesses as freelance infographic creators, PLR infographic creators, or in-house infographic creators. Life-changing? Maybe not. A miniature elevator ratchet? I hope so 🙂

        • Dino Dogan

          I will have a follow up article about Otis and what it meant for them to be early in the space (well…actually they created the space) but then they lost it.

          I think their story has a lot of lessons for the rest of us.

          Btw…Dan Cristo and I are working on something that will change things forever 🙂 #nojoke

  • thefriendlyblogger


    Have you ever considered penning a book? Seriously, you have the sweetest satirical edge to your writing. I love it.:)
    Now, how do I go about creating something that’s gonna create another something and so on and so on… have a great mind.


    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Lisa 🙂 Im almost done with my first book (on dogs) but I’d love to write a book on business topics, leadership, strategies and such. Which is why Im growing an audience here.

      Thank you for the vote of confidence 🙂

  • Elise M

    lol, this was really deep. I don’t think I’ve ever read about pyramids and elevators as it relates to business. This was pretty cool.

    • Dino Dogan

      An old timer who worked for Otis many years ago told me the story. Otis’ safety hook allowed us to have buildings taller than 5 stories where people sould live and work in. I just found it fascinating and had to share. Glad you found it fresh 🙂

  • Robert Dempsey

    Awesome post Dino, and amazing how one small device led to the ability for the towering creations many live and work in today to be possible. Now we need one so we can have Star Wars sized buildings.

    As for the ratchet in my business, I would say that is the people I interact with on a daily basis. The more people I interact with the more I learn and the more possibilities arise.

    Love the people.

  • Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

    Dino, I loved this post man, very unique angle—History—one that I’m a huge fan of. Also, if you keep writing stuff like this, you’re going to start to trick people into thinking you’re a pretty smart guy ;-).

    Time to find my ratchet……..


    • Dino Dogan

      As @RyanRenfrew would say…wuuuud up! 🙂

      Thnx Marcus. I think my plan is working :-p And I’ll have you know Im extremely smrat lol

  • Vivek Parmar

    Every business needs a perfect business plan and it takes time to build a great business and that too profit making

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Can Your Business Use a Ratchet? --