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What Is a Dumbwaiter? The Origins of the Package Handling Lift

What Is a Dumbwaiter? The Origins of the Package Handling Lift

Whatever You Need Lifted, a Dumbwaiter Can Help

Do you know your dumbwaiter history? Unless you work in the mechanical or package lifts industry, you probably don’t.

It may seem surprising, but there are lots of interesting things to learn about the dumbwaiter elevator. But, before we talk history, first it’s helpful to understand what these things are, and how a dumbwaiter shaft can be the conduit for vertical material lifts.

What Is a Dumbwaiter?

A dumbwaiter shaft - material handlingLet’s get the most obvious question out of the way first: What is a dumbwaiter?

A dumbwaiter is a kind of miniature elevator. It’s too small for a person to fit inside, however.

Traditionally, instead it is used to lift food up from lower-level kitchens to a restaurant above. It also helps waiters to get dirty dishes out of the restaurant and back down to the kitchen.

That way, staff aren’t running up and down stairs with their hands full of dishes. In addition to dishes, dumbwaiters can also carry small goods, ingredients, and much more.

Industrial Dumbwaiter Origin

So, how did dumbwaiters come about in the first place? Historically, they were used by servants and household staff for bringing food up from the servants’ quarters through the shaft to the main house.

The wealthy owners of the home weren’t bothered by noise from the kitchen. In addition, it made serving and transporting (and cleaning up after) larger meals much easier for everyone.

The term “dumbwaiter” was coined because the idea behind this small lift was to give wealthy homeowners a server that wouldn’t be seen or heard. In addition, that “dumb waiter” couldn’t speak to them. The space it moves through is, thus, the dumbwaiter shaft.

Other Uses for a Dumbwaiter

Most of us don’t live in homes where we have staff catering to our every need or a shaft for a dumbwaiter. But that doesn’t mean that dumbwaiters are no longer useful. Dumbwaiters are used today in:

  • Banks for carrying valuables from one place to another
  • Hospitals for making sure food and medication can quickly reach patients
  • Stores for bringing up goods from the warehouse
  • Breweries for bringing up kegs from the cellar
  • Other businesses where materials need to be efficiently moved between levels

In short, whatever material you need lifted, an industrial dumbwaiter can be an efficient, safe option.

Wish You Had Your Own Material Handling Elevator?

Now that you know what is a dumbwaiter, you may want one for business to efficiently move materials from one level to another. Industrial dumbwaiters – also known as vertical lifts or material lifts, are handy, easy to operate and can be built to handle light loads to extremely heavy loads.

Browse our website to learn more about the kinds of packing, lifting, and loading equipment we have to offer. Then, reach out to us if you have any questions on which of our products can help meet your material lifting needs.

If you have an existing dumbwaiter shaft, ask us about designing a material lift to fit the space. 

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