(redirected from Escalators)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


a moving staircase consisting of stair treads fixed to a conveyor belt, for transporting passengers between levels, esp between the floors of a building
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A moving stairway consisting of steps attached to an inclined continuously moving belt for transporting passengers up or down between the floors in a structure.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an inclined apron conveyor that has a moving apron consisting of steps and that is used to raise and lower passengers in subway stations, in public buildings, at pedestrian crossings, and in other areas with heavy passenger traffic. The first escalators were designed in the late 19th century in connection with preparations for the Paris Exposition of 1900. In the USSR, escalators were first installed in the Moscow subway in 1935.

A diagram of an escalator is shown in Figure 1. An apron with two endless drive chains passes around drive sprocket wheels at the upper end and around tension sprocket wheels at the lower end. The apron is guided by metal tracks. The drive for the drive sprocket wheels comprises an electric motor, reduction gears with additional gear or chain drives, and clutches. For safety and convenience, escalators have landings with comb plates that mesh with longitudinal grooves in the flooring of the steps. In addition, they are equipped on both sides with handrails that move on balustrades at a height of 0.9–1 m above the steps.

Rubberized cotton belts with folded edges are used as handrails. The handrails move on guides and take-up devices. The top handrail drive mechanisms are rotated, via a system of chain drives, by the shaft of the traction sprocket wheels. Handrail tension devices are located in the inclined part within the balustrades.

In front of the landings, the tracks cause the apron to level out for a distance of 0.8–1.2 m. However, in the inclined part, the apron forms a stairway with an angle of inclination of 35°; for non-Soviet escalators, the angle of inclination ranges up to 35°. Passengers may walk up or down the stairway when an escalator is stopped.

Figure 1. Diagram of an escalator: (1) tension sprocket wheel, (2) landing, (3) apron, (4) drive chain, (5) handrail tension device, (6) handrail, (7) handrail take-up device, (8) handrail drive mechanism, (9) drive for drive sprocket wheels, (10) drive sprocket wheel, (11) chain drive, (12) handrail guide, (13) track; (H) rise

Figure 2. A step of an escalator apron: (1) main wheel, (2) auxiliary wheel, (3) frame, (4) and (5) axles, (6) drive chain, (7) flooring; (8) step width

The apron of an escalator (Figure 2) consists of steps that have a steel frame, two main and two auxiliary plastic or rubberized steel (noiseless) wheels mounted on axles, and two drive chains. The plastic cleated flooring of a step remains horizontal for all portions of the carrying branch of the path. Supports for the sleeve-roller drive chains of the apron are mounted on roller link plates. Together with restraining bars along the path, the supports prevent the apron from collapsing or dropping in the unlikely event that the drive chains break.

Soviet standardized escalators for buildings and for subways have different characteristics. For buildings, they have a rise H = 5–7 m, a step width B = 500–750 mm, and a speed v = 0.4–0.5 m/sec. For subways, H = 10–65 m, B = 900–1,000 mm, and v = 0.75–1 m/sec. The escalator drive has service and emergency brakes. The escalators are equipped with a system of electromechanical protective devices; escalators for buildings also have means of automatic starting and stopping.

For wide steps, the rated capacity of escalators is 8,000 passengers per hr at v = 0.5 m/sec and 11,000 passengers per hr at v = 0.9 m/sec. The power rating of the motor may be derived from the sum of the resistances of the moving apron and the handrails. It is determined by the methods used for apron conveyors and belt conveyors, respectively.


Spivakovskii, A. O., and V. K. D’iachkov. Transportiruiushchie mashiny, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Mashiny nepreryvnogo transporta. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(mechanical engineering)
A continuously moving stairway and handrail.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

escalator, moving staircase, moving stairway

A power-driven, inclined, continuous stairway used for raising or lowering passengers.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The family of a 4-year-old Dudley boy who was killed in an escalator accident at the Auburn Mall three years ago has reached a settlement with the Simon Property Group, Schindler Elevator Corp.
It has now provided 17 new escalators at its four busiest stations - Monument, Central Station, Haymarket and Gateshead - plus Regent Centre in the last four years.
Otis will also maintain the lifts and escalators for 10 years after the two-year warranty period, for which a separate maintenance contract is being entered with Otis India.
When an escalator needs to be added, there are significant overhead costs.
Driven by large building projects in Taiwan, Yungtay's monthly sales on the island reached NT$300 million in the first three quarters, predicting to easily ship 1,900 elevators and escalators in 2011.
A four-year-old Turkish boy who fell from an escalator has narrowly avoided injury after being caught by a quick-thinking shopkeeper.
Gavin Smith, who is in charge of making sure the store - the biggest John Lewis outside of London - is ready for opening day on September 24, a month before the SD2 development is scheduled to open, said: "Getting the partners to give the escalators the ultimate test was over and above the industry standard, but we wanted to make absolutely sure they could cope with anything.
Tests by Japan's National Institute of Technology and Evaluation indicate that the shoes, made mainly from polyethylene resin, were "susceptible to catching" on escalators and moving walkways.
The order includes 30 elevators and six escalators. Four of the delivered units will be KONE double-deck elevators, which will be installed in the office tower.
Nevada Power consultants, KEMA and Paragon Consulting Services, conducted extensive testing of the technology on escalators in several major casinos in Las Vegas.
The study concluded that escalators designed with a reduced gap between the steps and sidewall would help reduce risk of entrapment.
On the Main floor, a central colonnade cuts through the store from the mall entrance leading to a new glass sided escalator well in the rear and provides access to the Route 4 entrance and a new customer lounge.