Where do they hide the counterweights?
July 25, 2007 2:23 PM   Subscribe

I was at Water Tower Place mall in Chicago last weekend, watching the glass elevators go up and down. And then I wondered... where are the counterweights?

Couple points I noticed about the construction:

1) There are three elevators grouped next to each other.
2) They cover 6 floors.
3) The enclosure was pretty thin with glass on all sides but one. I didn't see an obvious place to hide the weights.
4) Each elevator car had three cables attached to the top.
5) The elevators look out on the center of the mall, which is open from the first floor to the sixth. There's no room to hide the weights next to the elevators... although there are service corridors opposite the elevator doors on each level (maybe 8 to 10 feet away).

Anyone know? Is it possible they just don't have them?
posted by sbutler to Technology (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Isn't it a cog drive with the cables just for security?
posted by A189Nut at 2:28 PM on July 25, 2007


The weights don't necessarily have to be at the same vertical level as the elevators. Just drill a shaft in the basement and make the cables a little longer and they could be completely hidden below ground.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2007


They are probably hydraulic.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on July 25, 2007


wiki.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on July 25, 2007


They are probably hydraulic.

Hydraulics don't usually cover more than 3 floors, would be waaaaaay to slow for a 6 story mall application, and would have giant pistons at the bottom instead of three cables on top.
posted by LionIndex at 3:51 PM on July 25, 2007


*too* slow. Just like me. :(
posted by LionIndex at 3:52 PM on July 25, 2007


Yeah, I realized after posting that this is probably more answerable with a visual aid, but I didn't find any good pictures of the elevator via search.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:57 PM on July 25, 2007


pic1 pic2
posted by Rhomboid at 4:28 PM on July 25, 2007


I didn't notice any hydraulic pistons from the bottom.

Good pics, Rhomboid. If I'd known at the time that I'd be asking this question, I would have taken my own :)

Looking, it's obvious there are more cables than they there are more than the 3 cables I remember. Perhaps three pairs?
posted by sbutler at 6:10 PM on July 25, 2007


Ah memories... It still looks so modern, considering its age.

I think the counterweights are in the "front."

If memory serves, there is a considerable space between the wall and the actual threshold of the elevator as you enter, making ingress and egress quite awkward when crowded. There is more than ample room to hide all that stuff in that wall. In other words, you are walking past it as you enter the elevator from the waiting area.

My theory FWIW. I miss Chicago very much.
posted by OneOliveShort at 6:34 PM on July 25, 2007


I think OneOliveShort has a great hypothesis, but I'd want to see it again to evaluate, and I don't know when I'll get down to Chicago again at this point. :(

Maybe Jacqueline Bisset and Andrew McCarthy would know?
posted by dhartung at 12:41 AM on July 26, 2007


I think the counterweights are in the "front."

I think this is probably the case.

If memory serves, there is a considerable space between the wall and the actual threshold of the elevator as you enter, making ingress and egress quite awkward when crowded. There is more than ample room to hide all that stuff in that wall. In other words, you are walking past it as you enter the elevator from the waiting area.

Sure, but also keep in mind that even in a normal elevator, that threshold space is where the doors recede to at each level. If the threshold width for these elevators is substantially deeper than normal, like it seems you're saying, then you're probably right.
posted by LionIndex at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2007


Thanks guys. I'm not entirely convinced by any of the explanations, but I marked as best answer the two I thought best (for now anyway) as I'm not likely to get any more responses.
posted by sbutler at 9:20 PM on July 29, 2007


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