Elisha Graves was standing three floors above the crowd, on a platform suspended by ropes from above. The crowd gasped as Elisha swiftly cut the ropes!
In 1854 Elisha invited a crowd to join him at the New York’s Crystal Palace Exhibition for a demonstration. The event was hyped by none other than P.T. Barnum himself. Elisha had built a shaft three floors high within which was suspended a platform held from above by ropes. When the crowds had assembled, Elisha climbed to the top of the platform, and looking down at the crowd swiftly cut the suspension rope with a saber. The crowd screamed as the platform dropped with Elisha on it. But only for a mere second. “All safe, ladies and gentlemen, all safe” reassured Elisha, as the platform settled safely just a few feet below its starting point having been stopped by a new braking system he had designed.
Until then, elevators existed, but their safety record did not endear them to human passengers because they frequently plunged to the bottom of their shafts, with their loads, after their ropes had worn out. Elisha Graves Otis had demonstrated the first elevator fully safe for humans. This was an achievement that would enable the era of skyscrapers.
At the same time, Elisha demonstrated the first, perfectly delivered, elevator pitch. This one did not require many words, was delivered quickly and succinctly, and everyone in the audience got the message.
Think about this the next time you need to make an important pitch!