Without them there would be no high-rise city. But when it comes to the passenger lift - now celebrating its 150th anniversary - are you a lost soul or a welcome wagon?Going up!
It's one of those unglamorous inventions that's so widely used it goes largely unnoticed. You go to the lifts, push the button, and even if it only takes a few seconds, it still feels like too long.
Then you get inside, and as the doors close you take a close-up look at your fellow passengers, get irritated if they've stopped the lift for only one floor, and get even more irritated if not only can you see them in unexpected proximity, you can also smell them.
The invention of the lift made skyscrapers possible
But without the lift, which is celebrating a low-key 150th anniversary, the urban landscape would look utterly different. High-rise apartments and thrusting corporate tower blocks would have remained distinctly low-rise if we still depended on the stairs.
The highest and fastest I've used are the set that go up the CN Tower in Toronto. The most peculiar were a set that descended into the Gouffre de Padirac in France...