On this day in history : 4th October 1911 – The first escalators to be installed on London Underground are unveiled to the public at Earls Court Station….
Supplied by the Otis Elevator Company, the pair of moving staircases connected the Piccadilly Line and District/Circle lines…. One escalator was only able to carry passengers upwards, whereas the second was capable of being put into reverse, in case the other broke down….
Apparently London Underground hired a one-legged man to ride up and down the escalators all the first day – to show the public how safe they were…. However, in the first week 9 dresses were torn, 1 finger was pinched and a man fell off his crutches…. But with the addition of a guard rail the safely issues were quickly resolved….
Initially the moving staircases were on a month’s trial but proved to be so popular that they were kept…. So successful were they in fact, that between 1911 and 1915 a further 22 escalators were installed on London’s underground system…. Nowadays there are over 400 of them….