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wryter2000

(45,968 posts)
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 12:32 PM Jan 2012

Does anyone here know about taking care of old office buildings?

I'm writing a Harlequin romance novel (yes, one of those), and I want my heroine to be in the business of restoring old office buildings in downtown Oakland. The buildings would date back to the 1920s or so. I especially need to know what kind of elevators such a building would have (not the original elevator, I would guess and how they would work or break down.

Can anyone supply that sort of information or point me to a source? TIA

24 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Does anyone here know about taking care of old office buildings? (Original Post) wryter2000 Jan 2012 OP
try Otis elevators maybe Angry Dragon Jan 2012 #1
Thanks. wryter2000 Jan 2012 #2
dunno if you can find it, but there was a dirty jobs about this. mopinko Jan 2012 #3
Thanks wryter2000 Jan 2012 #6
Well, if your story were in Boston, the elevators would run on DC current Warpy Jan 2012 #10
The operator caught me watching him as he man-handled the control levers Kolesar Jan 2012 #4
LOL wryter2000 Jan 2012 #7
What exactly would you want to know? Stinky The Clown Jan 2012 #5
I only want it to get stuck between floors for a while wryter2000 Jan 2012 #8
I'm somewhat familiar with elevators going back to the 50's and up Major Nikon Jan 2012 #9
Thank you wryter2000 Jan 2012 #12
This message was self-deleted by its author Tesha Jan 2012 #14
can't it just be a power outage?? n/t NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #11
Thanks. That could be an option wryter2000 Jan 2012 #13
There's some good elevator stuff in Arthur Hailey's "Hotel"... n/t TygrBright Sep 2013 #17
Than you! wryter2000 Sep 2013 #18
This message was self-deleted by its author Tesha Jan 2012 #15
Thank you! wryter2000 Jan 2012 #16
Send me a mail Tetrachloride Feb 2019 #19
Hi, I posted this a long time ago wryter2000 Feb 2019 #20
Post removed Post removed Nov 2019 #21
The opening post is asking about elevators left-of-center2012 Nov 2019 #22
Sorry I missed it wryter2000 Nov 2019 #23
Anything to boost our post count, right? left-of-center2012 Nov 2019 #24

mopinko

(69,527 posts)
3. dunno if you can find it, but there was a dirty jobs about this.
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 01:36 PM
Jan 2012

it was very interesting.
the big reason they break is dirt! mixed with the grease on the gears and cables, it can be like cement.
also, otis didn't invent elevators, they invented elevator brakes. might be a fruitful angle.

wryter2000

(45,968 posts)
6. Thanks
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 05:23 PM
Jan 2012

I actually knew that about the brakes. That all happened in the 19th century, and my building would have been built later. Plus, I imagine the elevator would have been replaced at some point.

Warpy

(110,519 posts)
10. Well, if your story were in Boston, the elevators would run on DC current
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 09:28 PM
Jan 2012

which is still supplied to the inner city by Boston Edison.

Kolesar

(31,182 posts)
4. The operator caught me watching him as he man-handled the control levers
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 02:48 PM
Jan 2012

with the strong arms of a working man

Stinky The Clown

(67,463 posts)
5. What exactly would you want to know?
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 03:32 PM
Jan 2012

One could write a book (bad pun untended) about the upkeep of old office buildings.

As to the elevators, they could be of any age. Old ones can be endlessly rebuilt, but most get replaced by modern ones for economic reasons.

Modern ones tend to break down because of small electrical issues in the control circuits. (mostly computer controlled these days). The as so many redundant safety devices on elevators that we, literally, never hear of them falling. But there was a woman who was crushed in one just the other week due to a control malfunction. Here's a link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/nyregion/elevator-accident-kills-a-woman-in-a-madison-avenue-building.html?_r=1

wryter2000

(45,968 posts)
8. I only want it to get stuck between floors for a while
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 05:28 PM
Jan 2012

Because my heroine has been restoring the building, she'd understand the elevators and could comment "Must be the flange-rotor" or something.

I picture the building going back to 1920 or so but with a replacement elevator installed in the 50s or 60s. Safe but not reliable.

I'd also like to know about renovation of other things. I'm hoping she might be working on some gold leaf ornamentation herself.

Major Nikon

(36,811 posts)
9. I'm somewhat familiar with elevators going back to the 50's and up
Thu Jan 12, 2012, 08:46 PM
Jan 2012

The older ones I've seen haven't been any more or less reliable than newer ones, but they do tend to get renovated every other decade or so. The things that tend to wear out are the sensors that tell when the doors are activated or the location of the floor. The wiring that goes to the car tends to have problems because it moves all the time. Wires get old and crack and connections start to fail. In typical installations you have one small room on top of the elevator shaft one floor above the highest floor the elevator services. This houses the electrical service, the motor, the gearbox, and the control circuitry. We call this the elevator penthouse or machine room.

The earliest electric elevators didn't have control circuitry that told the elevator what floor it was on or exactly where the floor was. So they required an elevator operator who had a big rheostat (I think) type control that fed an AC motor(again I'm guessing) in the penthouse. I think an elevator from the 20's would be of this design. More modern controls were added as the elevators were renovated.

A typical renovation replaces all the sensors, wiring, and control circuits. This often requires a new panel inside the car. Often the motor, gearbox, and brake are replaced or overhauled along with the steel cables. The car itself is rarely replaced on an elevator, along with the rails inside the shaft. Pulleys and/or bearings are replaced or overhauled.

Most people who have their elevator renovated get an elevator company to do it. Most states require periodic inspections of public use elevators by certified elevator repair people. I don't know if these certifications are required to work on or renovate an elevator. If our elevators require anything more than a reset, we call the elevator folks with whom we have a contract.

wryter2000

(45,968 posts)
12. Thank you
Fri Jan 13, 2012, 02:58 PM
Jan 2012

That's very helpful. In an older building where I worked, elevator problems often occurred because the elevator didn't know where it was, relative to a certain floor. I think I can use that.

Response to Major Nikon (Reply #9)

wryter2000

(45,968 posts)
18. Than you!
Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:17 AM
Sep 2013

I have this thread bookmarked, obviously.

Unfortunately, the book was a close but no cigar with the publisher, so I'm not sure when or if I'll be writing it.

Response to wryter2000 (Original post)

Tetrachloride

(7,667 posts)
19. Send me a mail
Fri Feb 15, 2019, 12:37 AM
Feb 2019

I can critique your story and or outline if you like. I have not much to do until I get my cast off my foot.

Response to wryter2000 (Original post)

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