An elevator (North American English) or lift (British English) is a machine that vertically transports people or freight between levels. They are typically powered by electric motors that drive traction cables and counterweight systems such as a hoist, although some pump hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston like a jack.
In agriculture and manufacturing, an elevator is any type of conveyor device used to lift materials in a continuous stream into bins or silos. Several types exist, such as the chain and bucket elevator, grain auger screw conveyor using the principle of Archimedes' screw, or the chain and paddles or forks of hay elevators. Languages other than English, such as Japanese, may refer to elevators by loanwords based on either elevator or lift. Wheelchair access laws often require elevators in new multistory buildings, especially where wheelchair ramps are not possible.
High-speed elevators are elevators that move faster than regular elevators and are common in skyscrapers and towers.
Some elevators can also travel horizontally in addition to the usual vertical motion.
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