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A Skelding Summary

The escalator is a feature of most shopping centres, airports and train stations - and in the past has allowed many a weary traveller to rest their aching feet. The escalator or "moving stairway" as it was originally called is an American invention - designed in1891 by Jesse Reno - who realised that people were extraordinary lazy - and hated the very idea of walking up and down flights of steps. Why not then make the steps move for you?

The name escalator (from the French word for stairs) was coined at the Paris Exposition of 1900 as a trademark of the Otis Elevator Company who became peeved in 1949 when a court ruled that they no longer had rights to the word. This was a good thing - in that it allows me to tell you this information without fear of copyright arrest & prosecution.

One escalator was well worth a visit was at Charing Cross Tube Station, one of the longest in London. For years it combined the thrills & spills of a runaway rollercoaster accompanied by the deafening screeches and wails of the conveyer belt which sound oddly reminiscent of the sound track to "Psycho".
Now it is upgraded you may have to go as far as St John's Wood (Bakerloo) to see one of the old originals made of wood. Considering how old they are they did well. Hopefully the upgraded ones will last as long.

Lately, with the escalating cost of gymnasiums it has become more fashionable to walk up or down them by way of getting free exercise. The ones you get for use at home are costly too and it's only got two or three steps.

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By Laurence Skelding

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