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Close Door Buttons

In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works.

And (unrelated, but from the same article):

The [elevator] escape hatch is always locked. By law, it’s bolted shut, from the outside. It’s there so that emergency personnel can get in, not so passengers can get out.

From a fascinating & terrifying story about elevators, and getting stuck in them, by Nick Paumgarten in the New Yorker.

Once you’re done with the story, check the video.


  1. Dan Misener Dan Misener 2009-07-17

    Re: buttons — whenever I tell someone this fact while inside an elevator, it’s remarkable how often they want to prove me wrong.

    And sadly, I have no defense other than, “I read it somewhere.”

    “It is there mainly to make you think it works.” … and thus, give the rider a sense of agency?

  2. Hugh Hugh 2009-07-17

    I guess so – gives them something “constructive” to do to occupy the waiting time. Like dentists who talk to you and ask you questions – you can’t possibly answer them, but they just want you concentrating on something other than the discomfort of the dentistry.

  3. Hugh Hugh 2009-07-17

    By the way I am an inveterate close-door-button pusher.

  4. Hugh Hugh 2009-07-21

    @rush you’re welcome. hope the nabrel options work out.

Comments are closed.