Charles D. Seeberger
Born 1857 – September 12, 1931
Patent #: 617,778
Charles Seeberger was an inventor whose patented idea contributed to the
development of the escalator in its modern form.
Born in Oscaloosa, Iowa and employed by the Otis Elevator Company,
Seeberger is most commonly attributed with coining the term escalator, a
combination of the Latin “scala” meaning “steps” with “elevator.”
Seeberger’s invention consisted of a series of risers attached to a
series of levers and wheels which traveled in tracks. As the slats were
pulled along the tracks, the movement of the wheels and lever arms
ensured that the steps remained horizontal throughout the entire
operation. In addition, an elastic rubber strip placed underneath the
slats remained in contact with the adjacent riser. The rubber strip
served as a safety device to seal any gaps between steps.