For several hundred years, dumbwaiters have
been a proven convenience in homes and businesses.
Dumbwaiters are simply a box that has been
enclosed in a shaft that allows it to move
between the floors of a building. The box
carries heavy loads of anything, including
food and laundry, that needs to be moved
from floor to floor. Doors provide access
to the box wherever needed. Most domestic
dumbwaiters can carry loads of 50 to 100
pounds from the basement to as high as a
fourth floor. The shaft generally measures
about two square feet and can be built into
the walls when the building is constructed
or retrofitted into an existing structure.
If you are thinking of installing a dumbwaiter,
consider the following:
- The simplest and least expensive dumbwaiters
are pulled by a rope from floor to floor.
A pulley at the top of the shaft guides the
rope and a counterweight helps with the lifting.
Tracks within the shaft keep the box from
binding or banging against the shaft walls
to ensure that the dumbwaiter operates quietly.
- Electric dumbwaiters are easier to operate.
They are powered by a small motor that controls
a belt or chain drive that raises or lowers
the box at about 30 feet per minute. Most
have build-in safety brakes and interlocks
that prevent the dumbwaiter from operating
if the door is open. They can also be equipped
with locks that prevent the system from operating
without a key a safety feature that is important
if there are children living in the house.
- Dumbwaiter doors can open on more than one
side, and more than one door per floor can
be included in the system. Doors can be designed
to be obvious, or they can be disguised to
blend in to the wall.
Commercial dumbwaiters that are
can carry heavier loads are also