Otis, Charles R.

Otis, Charles R. (Rollin)

(1835–1927) manufacturer; born in Troy, N.Y., and Norton P. (Prentiss) (1840–1905) manufacturer, U.S. representative; born in Halifax, Vt. Working with his father, Elisha Otis, Charles persuaded him to open his own elevator factory to capitalize on Elisha's crucial inventions. After Elisha's death (1861), Charles continued inventing and patenting improvements at the Yonkers elevator factory, while Norton worked in sales. Otis Brothers & Company was organized in 1864 with Charles as president and Norton as treasurer. In 1890 Charles retired to travel; Norton assumed the presidency. The company consolidated to Otis Elevator Company in 1898. The brothers accumulated more than 30 patents and installed steam elevators in the Washington Monument (1880) and the Eiffel Tower; they installed the first electric elevator in New York City (1889). Norton, active in civic affairs, served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (Rep., N.Y.; 1901–03, 1905–07).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.