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The earliest known record of a lift can be traced back to Roman times when, in 235 BC, Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes built one from hemp rope and powered it using animals. Over the years, lifts have evolved and developed alongside the advancements and progress in modern construction and technology.

The first commercial passenger lift was introduced in 1857 in a department store in New York and was the brainchild of Elisha Otis who coined the phrase ‘safety lift’ for his invention. This new type of lift was ingenious as its technology prevented the lift from falling should the cable break. 

Fast forward 20 years and German inventor Werner von Siemens presented his ‘electric elevator’ to the Mannheim Trade Exhibition. It was the first time an electric motor had ever powered a lift and it travelled at 1.8 kilometres per hour.

Moving into the 21st Century and in 2010 family business Stiltz Homelifts enters the UK marketplace with a gamechanger of a home lift which immediately started to changing lives for the better.

This innovative, compact lift created a stir by bringing elevators to regular homeowners enabling them to purchase the product at an affordable price. Most importantly, the Stiltz lift looked great as well as providing a simple solution for moving between floors. Compact, quiet and available in an elegant colourway, Stiltz domestic lifts are both attractive and effective.

Very quickly, these Stiltz lifts began to change lives. Homeowners who were previously struggling or unable to use the stairs for whatever reason, started to regain independence, freedom, and access to all areas of their homes.

Mobility Technology: shopping centres to living rooms

Up to this point, lifts or elevators were commonplace in commercial settings such as shopping centres, airports, hotels or multi-storey car parks but were not really considered as a way to help people move around their homes.

In terms of home mobility solutions, the go-to would have been to install a stairlift, a product that attaches to stair treads and includes a chair for the user to sit on while they travel between floors. But stairlifts have limitations. The user needs to have a certain level of strength and mobility to be able to get themselves safely onto the chair and climb back down off the chair as well as strap themselves in correctly. For those with already compromised mobility this can be an ask too far.

Once installed, stairlifts take up a lot of space in the home. In fact, if a homeowner had a narrow staircase, the installation could make it more difficult for anyone else to use the stairs, raising different safety concerns. Add to this the potential need for two sets of walking aids upstairs and down to help the user, and it’s easy to see how risks can increase exponentially.

Most people who chose a stairlift tend to be unaware that the majority of modern stairlifts are battery-powered, meaning they need regular charging and can need replacing. Batteries typically last 2-5 years but if the stairlift is continually left off its charge point, this further reduces battery life.

A new type of home mobility solution was long overdue.

Wheelchair lifts – The first steps towards a home lift

Platform lifts or wheelchair lifts have been around for decades and are credited with being invented by American, Ralph Braun, in 1966. In simplest terms, these types of lift are designed to raise a wheelchair and the person within to overcome a step or barrier, whether inside or outside the home.

A natural evolution of wheelchair lifts was their installation in the homes of wheelchair users to provide a means of moving between floors in the home. However, as these lifts evolved from commercial equipment, they tended to be ‘boxy’, requiring a lot of floorspace and their design aesthetic was not taken into account. This meant they did not look especially attractive in a home setting instead they looked as if they were more suited to a hospital or medical facility.

The Stiltz Home Lift – a natural leader in its field

Stiltz Homelifts changed everything when it entered the marketplace in 2010. It brought with it a whole range of modern, functional and attractive home lifts, designed right from the drawing board up with the end-user and their home in mind.

This meant a great-looking lift that was specifically engineered to fit within a domestic residence and to be flexible enough to be placed almost anywhere – in homes large and small – in the UK and beyond.

The Stiltz Duo Home Lift

Hugely versatile, the Stiltz Duo Home Lift uses ‘dual rail technology’, within its own self-supporting structure. This smart design means the lift can be installed quickly, affordably and into many different locations around the home.

Each domestic lift is powered by an intelligent electric motor drive system which is very quiet and discreetly encased in the lid of the lift car. The lift will plug directly into its own dedicated, standard domestic 13-amp power socket and once installed, the Duo uses no more power than a regular domestic appliance. These features make the Duo special because it does not require the elevator to have additional hydraulic equipment in or around the home, nor does it need to be fixed to a wall.

Assembled in the UK, the Duo can be installed in as little as one day with minimal building work and disruption. From lounge to bedroom or hallway to study, placed in a cupboard or in the turn of the stairs, flexibility is built in. The domestic lift operates up from a compact footprint, so the choice of placements can be almost limitless.

Within the Duo range, homeowners have a choice of models available. They can also choose from the dependable, solid-sided Duo Classic, the Duo+ with its elegant clear-sided lift car allowing natural light to flood through, or the Duo Thru Car which allows users to enter and exit from both sides of the lift.

The Stiltz Trio Home Lift

One of the biggest obstacles wheelchair users face are the stairs. Most wheelchair users cannot use the stairs independently, relying instead on having someone carry them up. This can compromise a wheelchair user’s independence and dignity and it is far from practical … or safe. It is important to remember that, certainly for the elderly, most accidents at home take place on the stairs.

Installing a lift that travels between two floors is a great solution to the stair problem. The Stiltz Trio Home Lift features a spacious, light, and airy interior, large enough to accommodate a standard wheelchair. Like all Stiltz products, it also includes a number of safety features such as a light curtain which will stop the lift should something such a limb, clothing or an item being carried cross the lift car opening. This is a unique feature to Stiltz. There are additional sensors underneath and above the lift which will bring the lift to an immediate stop if touched. Added to this, the elevator will not travel upwards if anyone or anything is standing on the top plate in the room above. There is a useful built-in battery back-up and the winch can lift an impressive load of 39 stone or 550lbs.

The Trio range of wheelchair lifts comprises the Stiltz Trio+ and ThruCar – very handy for wheelchair users especially as it means there is no need to reverse out of the lift car. It is also very useful for installations within a stairwell void where entry and exit needs to be from opposing sides of the lift.

Stiltz Home Lifts: Power

Unlike the home lifts that came before Stiltz, the way these elevators are powered is innovative and unique. Whereas other domestic lifts have all required a combination of a separate machine room, pit shaft and load-bearing wall, the Stiltz lift is engineered to fully support its own weight and has a discreetly encased electric motor integrated into the top of the lift car.

This motor is small but mighty and once installed, means the lift can plug straight into a standard domestic plug socket using no more energy than an everyday domestic appliance.

Stiltz Home Lifts: Space

The Stiltz lift is modular, quick and easy to install and has a compact footprint. It is built in the knowledge that all homes are different, the Stiltz elevator arrives in easy-to-assemble modules and is built up into place. This means accessing spaces through low doorways or narrow corridors presents no problems.

Due to designing in smart use of space, the lift feels light and airy inside, but on the outside it is ultra-flexible, fitting easily into smaller spaces such as a cupboard space, a stairwell void or the corner of a room.

The compact Duo+ Stiltz lift, the smallest domestic lift in the range, requires less than a square metre in space, meaning it can blend seamlessly with a home’s décor, rather than dominating it.

The Stiltz ‘Stilts’

One of the most impressive things about the Stiltz lift is its unique drive system. This is where the Stiltz name originated and what gives it a big advantage over the competition.

The lift essentially travels along parallel, vertical rails or ‘stilts’ which means no supporting walls are required and there is no extra burden placed on the property as the weight of the lift is carried on the rails.

Conventional lifts often require extensive work, meaning a lot of disruption, and noise, plus it’s time-consuming meaning tradesmen are in the home for what feels like weeks.

The benefit of a Stiltz lift and its dual rail system is that it can be installed easily and swiftly – often in as little as a day once the initial building work has taken place. Best of all no planning permission is necessary for the lift itself.

The compact Duo+ Stiltz lift, the smallest domestic lift in the range, requires less than a square metre in space, meaning it can blend seamlessly with a home’s décor, rather than dominating it.

The Surprising Extra Benefits

Installing a lift in the home also provides homeowners with some surprise benefits they may not have even previously considered. For example, the lift can be tremendously useful at moving heavy luggage, awkward boxes, laundry basket, or bulky household items like the vacuum cleaner, between floors.

Domestic lifts are also ideal for visiting grandparents or friends and family with mobility issues, or any illness or injury where they might experience difficulty using the stairs.

With its two remote controls, the Stiltz lift can be called to whichever floor the user needs it, regardless of where it is stationed. For maximum efficiency and convenience, it can be ‘sent upstairs or downstairs’ out of sight if desired.

The Future is Now

With its space and energy efficiency, safety innovations, design aesthetics, speed and quiet operation, accessibility and amazing dual rail technology, the future of the home lift has already arrived.

It is one which is so impressive it could never have been imagined – not even by famous Ancient Greek mathematicians.

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