Great Idea Series

Going Up!

Elisha Otis's Trip to the Top

Publisher: Tundra Books

 In 1818, seven-year-old Elisha was fascinated by farm machinery. As a young man, he tried a variety of ways to make a living, but nothing fired his imagination more than the job he found in a bed-frame factory. Soon he invented a machine that made frames four times faster than ever before. In 1852, while overseeing the construction of a new factory, he had to find a way to move heavy machinery to the second floor. He didn't trust the hoisting platform, so he invented a safety brake. It was so successful that rather than lift machine parts, Elisha decided to build "people-hoisting machines." In 1857, Elisha Otis installed his first successful passenger elevator in a five-storey department store in New York City. Before Elisha's invention, buildings were never higher than six stories. At last it was possible to build skyscrapers!


  “… In his realistic, fine-lined illustrations, Parkins … captures the narrative’s broad, high-energy tone in images of the inventor with eyes bulging, mouth wide open and arms flung out wildly during various Eureka! moments….”
Kirkus Reviews

“Kulling gives lesser-known inventor Elisha Otis a lift in this latest entry into the Great Idea series…. [T]his picture-book biography gives a lively account of Otis’ world-changing invention. Caricatured expressions set against detailed backdrops add playfulness to the informative text.”