At The Top Of The First Escalator Installed In London, An Attendant Would Offer Shoppers?
The last time that you rode an escalator, you probably didn’t think much at all of the experience except maybe, “I’m glad I don’t have to walk up all these steps.” or, if you’re the more morbid type, “I wonder how many people get killed by escalators every year.”—but most likely, the whole experience passed without any thrilling feelings, existential dread, or a racing heart.
The same can’t be said, however, for the first shoppers to use an escalator in England. Escalators, in various forms, were invented by various people in the late 19th century. In November 1898, French manufacturer Piat installed the first escalator in the United Kingdom at the Harrods store in Knightsbridge. The experience was, apparently, so exhilarating and disorienting to customers that Harrods employed an attendant at the top of the stairs who was equipped with smelling salts and glasses of brandy to help wild-eyed patrons regain their bearings and composure.
We don’t know about you, but we think a visit to the mall would be a much more pleasant affair if every time we trudged to the escalator and ascended, we were rewarded with a nip of brandy.
Image courtesy of Harrods.