Drawing of Revolving Stairs, US Patent Office

Invention of the Escalator

On March 9, 1859 the US Patent Office grants patent #25,076 to Nathan Ames for his invention—the Revolving Stairs. The steps of his Revolving Stairs are mounted on a continuously moving belt or chain. Ahead of its time his escalator-like machine is never produced. The earliest working escalator is a novelty ride at Coney Island, New York, in the 1890s.

Today escalators are a typical feature in malls and department stores.