Elisha Otis was born on this day in 1811

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OTIS (OH-tihs)

Elisha Otis: American inventor and manufacturer of first elevator with a safety device
Otis Redding: American soul singer
Common clues:
Elevator man; Singer Redding; Elevator pioneer Elisha; Inventor Elisha; Redding of R&B; Big name in elevators; Soul singer Redding; He gave us a lift
Crossword puzzle frequency: 8 times a year
Frequency in English language: 30713 / 86800
(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay

Elisha Graves Otis (August 3, 1811 — April 8, 1861) invented a safety device in 1852 that made elevators much safer by preventing them from falling if the hoisting cable parted. Otis was born near Halifax, Vermont. He moved away from home at the age of 19. He then moved to Troy, New York and lived there for 5 years.

At New York’s Crystal Palace, Elisha Otis amazed the crowd when he ordered an axeman to cut the only rope suspending the platform on which he was standing. The platform dropped a few inches, but then came to a stop. His new safety brake stopped the platform from crashing to the ground and revolutionized the industry.

He went on to create the Otis Elevator Company, currently a division of United Technologies Corporation and is also the largest elevator company in the world. Mr. Otis sold his first safe elevators in 1853.

The first passenger elevator was installed by Otis in New York in 1857. After Elisha Otis' death in 1861, his sons, Charles and Norton, built on his heritage, creating Otis Brothers & Co. in 1867.

His invention increased public confidence in elevators, which was instrumental in the rise of skyscrapers.

The Otis family currently owns a home on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an influential American deep soul singer, best known for his passionate delivery and posthumous hit single, "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay." According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where he was inducted in 1989) website, Redding's name is "synonymous with the term soul, music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying."

Redding, his manager, the pilot, and four members of his backup band, The Bar-Kays, were killed when his chartered plane crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, on December 10, 1967. The two remaining Bar-Kays were Ben Cauley and James Alexander. Cauley was the only person aboard Redding's plane to survive the crash. Alexander was on another plane, since there were eight members in Redding's party and the chartered plane could only hold seven, and it was Alexander's turn in the rotation to take a commercial flight.

Cauley reported that he had been asleep until just seconds before impact, and recalled that upon waking he saw bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and say, "Oh, no!" Cauley said the last thing he remembered prior to crashing was unbuckling his seatbelt. He then found himself in the frigid waters of the lake, grasping a seat cushion to keep afloat.

Redding's body was recovered the next day when the lake bed was searched. The cause of the crash was never precisely determined.

Redding was 26 years old at the time of his death. He was entombed on his private ranch in Round Oak, Georgia, 23 miles (37 km) north of Macon.

"(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" was recorded only three days prior to Redding's death. It was released the next month and became his first #1 single and first million-seller. The fact that "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" ultimately became Redding's greatest commercial success was unexpected, not only because its release came after his death, but also because the song is actually a significant stylistic departure from the bulk of his other work.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Elisha Otis" & “Otis Redding”