The Dumbwaiter: A Brief Introduction
The dumbwaiter is a lifting aid that has been used by humans for thousands of years. People all over the World have used them extensively to help move items around their home or place of business.
Early dumbwaiters utilized human or animal power, but by the eighteen-hundreds, most commercial dumbwaiters were using steam, electric, or hydraulic power.
How Do Dumbwaiters Work?
A dumbwaiter works much like an elevator. A vertical shaft is required to span between floors and the dumbwaiters car moves up and down the shaft. The car refers to the part of the dumbwaiter that actually holds the goods and can be as simple as a wooden platform or can be a completely enclosed box.
Usually a metal track is installed along the length of the dumbwaiter shaft, with the car moving along the track. Rollers keep the dumbwaiter smoothly and leveling moving along the track, with some rollers also including a built in brake system.
In some cases, the rollers on the bottom of the car are powered, although in many commercial dumbwaiters the pulley system mounted to the top of the dumbwaiter shaft, which can allow for a greater lifting capacity.
While similar to elevators, it is important to note that dumbwaiters are not intended to carry humans and instead should only be used to transport non-living materials.
What is a Commercial Dumbwaiter
Commercial dumbwaiters are much more powerful than a residential dumbwaiter. They often have a much larger lifting capacity, can include more stops along the dumbwaiter shaft, and can travel over larger distances.
Metal dumbwaiter cars are very popular, with many also including full metal shafts. In some industry’s, such as shipping, the metal car and shaft is required due to fire regulations. It also allows for more support and durability. In the restaurant industry, insulated dumbwaiters with in shelves are very popular.
In addition to being much stronger and more durable, commercial dumbwaiters are also designed to meet local building codes and fulfill safety regulations.
Where Are Commercial Dumbwaiters Used
There are many businesses that make extensive use of commercial dumbwaiters, including libraries, restaurants, and hospitals.
The shipping industry has also extensively used dumbwaiters for many years. In the early sailing times, simple rope and pulley dumbwaiters were used, but by the beginning of the twentieth century, electric and steam dumbwaiters had become very popular. These were used to move items throughout the ship quickly and easily. Since, on a ship, space is usually very limited, a dumbwaiter could provide essential to the movement of food and dishes from the galley to the dining room.
Similarly to their use in a ships galley, they are also very popular in many multi-story restaurants. They allow food to be brought to the guest while it is still hot, without putting extra strain on the waiters. Dirty dishes are also taken care of in the dumbwaiter, which otherwise would require carrying the dishes down the stairs, which would be impractical on a large scale.
Other Kinds of Dumbwaiters
Dumbwaiters are also very popular in homes.
The manual dumbwaiter is still found in some homes, but the electric dumbwaiter is beginning to be much more common. These provide a means of moving things like groceries or laundry instantly throughout the home. They are also an attractive item to prospective home buyers, so more and more builders are including these in their designs.