Modernizing a Birdcage Elevator | Historic Birdcage Elevators

Birdcage elevators emerged in the late 19th century, and continue to be part of certain older, historic buildings. By the early 20th century, their ornate nature made them perfect centerpieces. Elevators often featured detailed metal doors and grilles. Because of these aspects, managers of such properties may decide to keep the birdcage elevator as a visual fixture. But, what if you want to retain the appearance and make it functional? This is where custom-designed elevators come in.

Same Look, Newer Operation

Beyond the aesthetic aspects, building designs have drastically changed over the last century. In response, any restoration project begins not with the look but with the elevator’s electrical and hydraulic components. Installation will update both.

Inside, the new elevator features new controls and will be designed to meet ADA size requirements. This latter quality further evolved over the past century. As a result, newer elevators come with more interior room, as well as hand rails, audio, and video functions for compliance.

Revitalizing the Appearance

Whatever happened to the birdcage elevator? Upgrades during the 1970s and ‘80s essentially removed these fixtures, replacing them with sleeker, metallic, streamlined systems. While the functions improved, buildings lost their character. Adding a modernized elevator can help bring it back.

In working with a custom elevator creator, you’ll find that drawings, CAD designs, and models help achieve that turn of the century aesthetic – particularly, the detailed metal gates. But, that’s not all. The range of material possibilities lets you build one out of steel or historic metals. Either may be coated for a darker or lighter color, according to your preferences.

Safety First

The course of the 20th century saw safety regulations change. This is partially why existing elevators simply sit as historic fixtures and aren’t in operation.

Your modern design, on the other hand, incorporates up-to-date safety components. A square or rounded car includes glass panels for a fully-enclosed cab. Playing off this aspect, a glass hoistway replicates the visual experience and gets as close to authenticity as possible.

Have a historic building you’re looking to upgrade, all while keeping its classic appearance? Explore custom elevators with Artisan. View past projects in our gallery, and then contact us for more information about our services.

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The options for a custom elevator are seemingly endless. Our designers will work alongside you through each step of the process to customize a luxury new elevator that fits your home or business perfectly. The design begins with selection of the best motor system and ideal base for your indoor elevator.