- For Otis fixtures found in Asia, Europe and other regions, Please refer to List of Otis elevator fixtures.
This is a list of Otis elevator fixtures that are found in the United States and Canada.
At this time, elevators were operated by pulling ropes. For belt-driven elevators, there are 3 ropes. Pulling the right rope down once makes the elevator go up, and pulling the left rope down once makes the elevator go down, and pulling the middle rope once stops the elevator.
1889 to 1940s
When manually-controlled elevators were common before in 1920s, most Otis elevators at that time were using old deadman controls, which is usually a car switch used by elevator operators to move the elevator cars. If the crank moved to the left, the elevator car goes down and if the crank moved to the right, the elevator car goes up. Otis made various different car switches. One very rare type of Otis car switch is mounted to the floor of the elevator, and has a very long handle. In some cases, this model of car switch was labeled "Otis Plunger Elevator". Some elevators have a vintage hall call annunciator to announce elevator operator that a hall call outside has been registered on certain floors. Some old Otis freight elevators have continuous-pressure controls, which are up/down buttons inside and outside the elevator, which move the elevator in the direction marked when held down.
When Otis introduced automatic elevators in 1924, elevators at that time were using old black buttons made of Bakelite. The hall station has a red lamp above the button to indicate that the elevator is in use. Also note that most of the vintage hall station and car operating panels have the old Otis "globe" logo, and today, C.J. Anderson Elevator Products Company in fact, makes "Classic Antique" fixtures that bear a close resemblance to the old Otis fixtures. Note that automatic elevators were a choice at the time, and were more costly to buy, and could not be used in large buildings. The car station panel has small round black buttons without illumination. Otis marketed these fixtures as part of their "Finger-Tip Control" automatic elevators.
1930s to 1980s
In this era, most standard Otis elevators used the old black round buttons with classic white letterings; in the case of Otis, these buttons were first made with bakelite, then later, they were made out of Lexan fibreglass. These buttons are very simple with no illumination indication. Also, there is no door close button; pressing a floor would cause the door to close instantly in most cases.
There are five variants of these buttons. One is a smaller button with smaller numbers (the oldest variant, probably bakelite), one with a bigger button and bigger numbers (probably Lexan), one with a bigger button, and bigger numbers, which are in a different font (probably Lexan, might only be used in select countries), one with gray buttons (car station only, probably Lexan), and one that is very rare, with white buttons (probably Lexan). There is also a vandal resistant version, with metal buttons. Floor counters were simply metal plates with illuminating numbers, going horizontally. They were also illuminating squares positioned vertically. The Lexan buttons were discontinued in 1990.
Some YouTube elevator enthusiasts refer to these fixtures as Pre-Lexan since they referred to the black illuminating fixtures as Lexan, although the term is technically misleading due to the fact some black buttons are made out of Lexan.
Otis updated the black buttons making them flush buttons with an illuminating halo. There are two variants of these buttons. One with bigger buttons and a smaller halo (the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s version), and one with a larger, clearer halo, and recessed buttons (the 1980s version). By the early-1970s, red digital LED floor counters began appearing with directional indicator on both sides of the floor indicator. These fixtures were discontinued in around 1990. They are sometimes seen on Otis Elevonic 401 elevators.
These fixtures were used on Otis Signal-Control and early Otis Autotronic elevators before the Electronic touch sensitive buttons were introduced. They appear similar to the black buttons but latched the electromagnetic solenoid on when pressed and pops out when the car stops. With later examples of these fixtures, there is a large dot or number next to the button that lights up when the button is pressed.
From 1948 right up until the 1970s, Otis was also using touch sensitive black buttons with an illuminating halo; they were either rounded, square, or triangle shaped. The triangle shaped buttons have a round touch area in the middle and an "arrow" shaped illuminating halo; these were only used in call stations. These buttons used vacuum tubes so that the passenger would only lightly touch the button to go to his or her floor, which are actually worked by completing a circuit when your finger comes into contact with the button. This all works through a spring behind the touch plate that runs to the Thyratron tube behind the button, which serves as the switching circuit and the light bulb.
The Electronic touch-sensitive buttons were discontinued in the 1970s as they were claimed to be a fire hazard - that is to say heat from a fire can activate a landing call, and therefore cause a car to stop at that floor - this very scenario was demonstrated in the 1970s disaster film The Towering Inferno, when a car full of people escaping from the Promenade Room stops on the 81st floor sky lobby where the fire is raging, resulting in their deaths. As the result, many elevators with touch sensitive buttons were modernized for the same reason. In addition, the fixtures are not ADA-compliant.
Rotodial indicators first appeared in the 1940s or 1950s. These indicators have a rotating disk with floor numbers printed on it. The disk is behind a round dome shaped glass and has an arrow in the middle of the dial. When the elevator car is moving up, the disk rotates to the right and when the car moves down, the disk rotates to the left. Later examples of these indicators have vertical roller instead of rotating disc, which means that the number rolls upward when the car goes up and rolls down when the car goes down.
Also from the 1970s to the 1980s, Otis used the "IEE indicator." IEE was not the model name, but was a separate company, standing for Industrial Electronic Engineers. This indicator was most likely custom made for Otis, or Otis bought the raw IEE indicators and mounted their faceplate/mounting hardware on it. This indicator is unique because the floor number display disappeared when the car passed between two floors. This type of indicator has a rack of 9 bulbs on each side of the display that sit behind a piece of film with numbers cut in it. A mirror directs the light towards the viewing screen, and you get the number of the floor. The IEE indicator is often called "Otis vanishing indicator" by several YouTube elevator enthusiasts.
Edge lit indicator
Another indicator Otis made in the 1970s was the edge lit indicator. The edge lit display consists of a stack of glass plates with numbers dimpled into their faces. These plates are enclosed in a frame and lit from above or below (some types of edge lit displays are lit from behind, and have curved glass plates) by an array of incandescent lamps. Only Otis HPA 2000 elevators have this indicator.
Early 1980s to 1990s
Otis fixtures in North America can be very hard to tell apart. There are five different "Series" name fixtures. Series 2 and 4 are nearly identical, and are the hardest to tell apart.
Series 1 is fairly common and has a very distinctive look. They are normally seen in Otis Elevonic 401, and some hydraulic elevators in the early 1980s up to 2010. The older Series 1 fixtures have flush buttons, where it has the black plastic trim with either a silver or bronze face plate, while the indicator is slanted down towards the floor. Some elevators may also have a slanted up panel with some or all of the floor buttons on it. The floor indicator is green (or in rare cases, red) and is often a digital, but sometimes an analog indicator is used for buildings with four stories or less. Two vertical rows of floor buttons are used on hydraulic elevators, and three vertical rows of floor buttons are used on traction elevators (with some exceptions). The bottom part of the panel slanted forward are used on traction elevators, and also very rarely used on hydraulic elevators. There is also flat Series 1, where it has a flat panel, and no plastic around the edge of the panel. Some enthusiasts call this "Custom Series 1," as it's very similar to Dover's Custom Impulse, although this most likely wasn't the name.
Series 1 fixtures were redesigned in the mid 1990s, where the buttons now protrude from the panel, analog indicators were mainly dropped (was used in a few hydraulic installations), the door open/close buttons were made white from green, and the alarm button was made white from yellow. Otis also called these their "Advanced Fixtures".
Otis Series 1 fixtures were discontinued in around 2005 (last known installation is located in San Diego Zoo, San Diego CA, from 2010).
These are white round buttons that light up when pressed. These fixtures were made from the late 1980s-mid 1990s and are quite rare. These fixtures are part of the Series 1 line, and made out of Lexan.
Series 2 was introduced in 1990. They were also known as "Classic Fixtures" according to an Otis reference. Series 2 buttons comes with round metallic buttons with either a flush or a projecting design. Vandal resistant buttons have a small circle in the middle instead of a ring, and also has an LED light in the center of the button. The floor indicator on Series 2 uses a black rectangular panel where it can be paired with a green vacuum fluorescent indicator, or a red LED indicator, although older Series 2 installations used a circular shaped panel. Sometimes in modernizations, the rectangular indicator is smaller and usually uses a red LED indicator. In comparison with Series 4, Series 2 comes with flush mounted hall fixtures.
The Otis Luxury fixtures are normally found in the Elevonic 411, 411M and Double Deck elevators, and were most likely introduced in the late 1980s, or 1991, and made until around the the late-1990s. It consists of round concave buttons with green or red illumination halo, green (for up) and red (for down) hall lanterns and either digital or electro luminescent floor indicators.
There are several versions of the buttons. There is a push button version, and a touch sensitive version. The touch sensitive version would have been discontinued in 1990 in the United States due to ADA codes introduced at that time, meaning that it was likely only available in the United States for a few years. It is possible that the touch sensitive version is the original version, and it was replaced by the push version when ADA prohibited touch sensitive buttons on new installations, but this is unconfirmed.
There are also versions of Luxury car buttons where the buttons are mounted on raised metal surround brailles. This version of the button can also be either push or touch sensitive.
There is also a vandal resistant version of the Luxury fixture, the buttons are made from machined aluminum (rather than chromed plastic) and the halo is replaced with a green or red LED in the middle of the button. It is possible that these buttons are actually EPCO SSL, although this isn't confirmed.
Luxury had two types of floor indicators. One is a standard 16 segment digital display, and one is an electro luminescent display, the latter is a black background display with yellow characters. It could also display messages as well as date and time, and in many cases, the arrow would animate when the car stops at a floor.
Some elevator enthusiasts mistakenly call these fixtures "Otis European Fixtures" - as they are also found on North American installations, or "Series 3." While it would make sense for these to be called Series 3, they aren't listed on a most Otis documents, and the ones that they are don't list them as Series 3, but rather just Luxury. Nowadays, Otis's Luxury fixtures have been modified as part of the current Series 4 fixtures in North America, which can still contain the Luxury name.
Series 4 is similar to Series 2, but the hall station options are surface mounted basic tall hall stations, or luxury hall stations. This series also includes beveled edges, and the car stations are swing front. Like Series 2, Series 4 comes with round metallic buttons with either a flush or a projecting design. Vandal resistant buttons have a small circle in the middle instead of a ring, and also has a LED light in the center of the button. Otis also calls these fixtures the "Luxury Fixtures" as the Luxury fixtures set has been modified as part of the current Series 4 fixtures in North America. These were discontinued in around 2012.
2004 to present
Series 6 came out in 2004-05, and was the replacement of Series 1. The hall station has curved sides. The buttons are the same ones that are used in Series 4 with red lights (sometimes green). Series 6 indicators feature a red, two-digit sixteen segment LED displays, and have curved sides. Its in-car lanterns are usually referred to as "egg lanterns" since they look like an egg. They are believed to be a rip-off of the Schindler HT lantern. Although some Series 6 installations use Series 2/4 hall stations, and lanterns. It uses Otis's new chime, which for the down signal uses 2 different sounding tones. These are often referred to as "Series 5" by enthusiasts, although this is incorrect, as these came out after the actual Series 5 came out, and there is recently discovered evidence from an official Otis document suggesting that these are actually Series 6. Series 6 fixtures are more commonly found in hydraulic elevators more than traction elevators. These were produced until around 2012.
Series 5 came out in 2003-04, where its fixtures are similar to the Series 6, but on a black panel where it has a similar layout to the Series 1. Its in-car lantern is the same used on Series 6. These fixtures are fairly rare since not a lot were installed. These are often referred to as "Series 6" by enthusiasts, although this is incorrect, as these came out before the actual Series 6 came out, and there is recently discovered evidence from an official Otis document suggesting that these are actually Series 5. These were produced until 2005, when Series 6 came out.
The Newer Series 2/4 and Series M2/M4 came out in 2011, where its relatively common as it is fairly new but not as rare as Series 6. Newer Series 2/4 are used for new installations while Series M2/M4 are used for modernizations. Series NS2/NS4/M2/M4 has buttons similar to older Series 2/4 but they either light up with blue or white. Just like older Series 2/4 and 5, they have halo lights or center LED lights but the phone button has an orange halo and braille. This series also offers a white plastic version of the buttons whose full face lights up which is believed to meet California codes but they can be found elsewhere. They are incorrectly mistaken as "Vanity" but that is a false term. The floor indicator on Newer Series 2/4 uses a white-on-blue LCD sixteen-segment display while the floor indicator on Series M2/M4 uses the infamous "ACME" indicator made by CE Electronics. Earlier versions of Series M2/M4 (still available today) have buttons that light up red and a red "ACME" indicator with a "green-for-up" and "red-for-down" lantern. Series NS2/NS4 uses chimes from Series 6/6, where Series M2/M4 uses chimes from Series 1, or older Series 2/4. In addition, the in-car lanterns are identical to Series 1 and older Series 2/4 but the arrow color only comes in blue. Like older Series 2/4, Newer Series 2 uses a panel that sticks out of the wall where Newer Series 4 uses a flush mounted panel. Newer Series 2 and Newer Series 4 fixtures are used on Otis Hydrofit, Gen2 and Skyrise Elevators.
Some YouTube elevator enthusiasts mistakenly call them "Series 7" although it is a false term and has since been confirmed by Otis.
M3 is Otis's fixtures used for modernization, usually for the Elevonic 411M-C system.
Otis' destination dispatch system, named Compass, replaces the conventional call buttons in the elevator lobby on each floor with a wall-mounted keypad panel. The wall-mounted keypads (standard type used in the Compass system) have telephone-style push buttons and a blue LCD display. Otis also made a touch screen version, but rarely used. Button fixtures used inside varies; they can be Series 2, or 4. The destination indicators on the car door jamb are either digital segments or an LCD display. These fixtures, along with Otis Compass was launched in 2005. They have been discontinued and replaced by the new CompassPlus fixtures.
When the Otis Compass system was re-branded as CompassPlus in 2013, Otis updated the destination dispatch keypads and touch screens with a more futuristic design. The keypad buttons have been redesigned with a new wavy design and illuminating numbers, while the LCD displays have been changed to full color. These were also used on the older Otis Compass systems from 2013-14 to when it was discontinued.
- The "Series" name is given by the Unitec Parts Company, which is an Otis parts company which provides Official Genuine Otis Elevator and Escalator Parts for preservation and modernization.
- The Series 6 lantern is a knock-off of the Schindler HT lantern and also the digital Series 6 lantern is a knock-off of the Kone KSS 370-Designer orange lantern.
- OTIS "Series M1" is a button replacement for a Series 1 hall station, and uses the standard post 1990 Otis push button.
- List of Otis elevator fixtures - for Otis fixtures found outside North America.
Notes and references
- Common Otis fixtures poster
- General Otis fixtures brochure
- Otis Hall Lanterns & Position Indicators brochure
- Otis Pushbuttons brochure
- Beno's Lift Guide - Otis Elevator Company