London Sumatra Building’s birdcage elevator

Found this interesting story on an April 2016 Kompas newspaper article about an antique “birdcage” elevator at the historic London Sumatra (Lonsum) Building in Medan. The London Sumatra Building was completed in 1908 and it is the first building in Medan equipped with an electric elevator, which was installed when this building was built. With an age of 110 years old, it is now considered to be the oldest elevator still working in Indonesia!

The original text on the newspaper has been translated below:

Oldest Elevator That Still in Operation

Medan can be proud. This city has a four storey building, the office of PT. PP London Sumatra (Lonsum) Tbk which was built in 1908 and equipped with an elevator (lift) of the same age.

The Lonsum plantation company  inherit the building that was built by the Davidson & Crossfield Company, which was based in England.

This elevator has an antique barred door. The operator ensures the door is closed tightly before the elevator moves. To move the elevator up or down, a crank has to be manually pulled.

The operator must cautious when stopping the elevator on the desired floor to make it level with the floor correctly as there were no stop sensors at that time.

Captions on the right hand side of the picture, from top to bottom:

  • The elevator’s operation crank.
  • This elevator cab made by R. Waygood & Co. from England has a size of 180 x 180 cm and is able to carry a maximum of six persons at a time.
  • Kliwon (50), who work there since 1986, operates this electric-driven elevator and maintains its machinery installation located behind the elevator cab.

And below here is the picture of story from the newspaper that I took a while ago.