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Types of Elevators: Dumbwaiters

One type of elevator that you might not think of in the traditional sense is the dumbwaiter. Dumbwaiters are a small type of freight elevator, used to carry goods instead of people. While people do not travel on dumbwaiters, they are still involved in the process of loading and unloading the dumbwaiter. During this process and in other situations, a person might be injured while working with a dumbwaiter. On this page, I will discuss the dumbwaiter in greater detail. I will also discuss what you should do if you are injured in a dumbwaiter accident.

What is a Dumbwaiter?

The dumbwaiter was first patented in 1883 by George Cannon. Dumbwaiters are smaller devices than elevators that carry passengers. They are also much smaller than other types of freight elevators. They generally carry 45 to 450 kg of weight. Dumbwaiters are most commonly known to carry foods and trays related to cooking. They generally travel throughout a building and end up in the kitchen. They are commonly used in hotels, restaurants, private homes, schools, and hospitals to assist with cooking and carrying food between different floors. They have also been used for household chores, such as laundry. Maids in private homes or hotels have used dumbwaiters to transport dirty laundry between floors, which is more efficient than bringing carts to a laundry room by hand.  

Dumbwaiters are a simple frame in a shaft controlled by a pulley on a rope. This is guided by rails that are motorized. Before motorization, dumbwaiters could be pulled manually.

Safety Issues

While dumbwaiters can be very convenient and help improve the efficiency of jobs in cooking and housekeeping, they can also be dangerous. In many cases, they can be dangerous because they are improperly used. For example, people may operate the dumbwaiter in an unsafe way, making it move between floors too quickly. It is also common in some restaurants to yell orders through the dumbwaiter shaft, which can be dangerous if the dumbwaiter cab falls.

Other issues could occur if the dumbwaiter is not installed properly, if it breaks, or if it malfunctions. In these cases, an injury is likely not the fault of improper use, but issues with the dumbwaiter itself.

Dumbwaiters are also required to comply with standards set out by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The same society regulates standards and requirements for other types of elevators. If these standards are not met, the dumbwaiter can be dangerous to use.

In situations where a dumbwaiter is used properly, but an injury occurs, the victim could have a personal injury claim. If you suspect that you deserve compensation for an injury that was someone else’s fault, please contact our office. We can review your situation, answer your questions, and help you determine the next steps to take in your situation. We are happy to work with you until you find a satisfactory solution to your situation. Contact us at (203) 925-9200 for more information.