Jesse W. Reno, 1861 -1947: Up the Down Stair Case

My aunt who lived in Brazil in the 1950s once told me that when the escalator was installed in a local department store, the locals were so unnerved that they would not use it until it was turned off.

One sees their point.

The first escalator, dubbed the circular stairway, was an 1859 idea by Nathan Ames,  of Massachusetts that never got off the ground.   The inclined elevator, which did get off the ground, was the creation of Jesse Reno, son of the Union Civil War general Jesse L. Reno.

He came up with the idea at the age of sixteen, before attending college.   Continue reading