Elevator shaft?


Maybe I missed something, but why would a house of that size have not only an elevator, but one with a really deep shaft?!

reply

Normally this would be a "Deep South" Manor house.

Servants or slaves would have an elevator shaft in the form of a "Dumb Waiter".
It's a small cupboard with a box to raise and lower baskets of clothes to be washed and food to be delivered to differing house floors (basement, ground floor, & second floor).

Wealthy home owners after the 1900's might be able to afford a functional full elevator if the owner is elderly or wheelchair bound.

A mechanical powered Dumb Waiter shaft is probably far cheaper than a full elevator, but not as cheap as a hand pulley system.

Of course, for homes with clothes washers in the basement, it would probably be cheaper to have open shafts to simply throw dirty clothes in which then go to the basement. Note also that motors back in the early 1900's were noisy and smelly (being sloppy-machined diesel and many homes could only afford one which was then rebelted to other home machines to power them.

It's kind of like how kids of this Internet Era don't understand how slow it was to use rotary phones or the wait for weeks for a magazine to do an in-depth news reporting on an important event which the newspapers gloss over. Back in the early 1900's life was quite a bit harder than life in the 1950's and in the 1970's.

reply

Ah, forgot to mention in the last post about floor-to-floor laundry dumping.

A vertical shaft "laundry hole" has one distinct problem that a simple clothes basket or a cart does not have. It is very difficult to clean.

For basic dry smelly (from sweat) clothes, throwing them down a metal tube that leads to the basement means that the stink rubs off onto the shaft, but is usually rubbed off randomly by other falling clothes. Not much of a problem there.

For dusty dirty clothes, tossing them down a metal shaft results the dust being caught up by other falling clothes, but not perfectly. After awhile, the clothes chute becomes a dust tube.

The bigger problem is with soiled wet clothes (muddy) or soiled oily clothes or sticky soiled clothes.
Muddy wet clothes will leave muck on the shaft which will dry and oversoil other clothes (usually white or light-colored clothes that display a light soiling very badly). Oil will also leave the metal chute very messy for a long time.
Sticky dirty clothes will create stick-spots in the chute and leave sticky dusty wet grime spots that will severely soil all clothes that follow.

You can buy a Chimney Sweep type of brush, but it really won't clean the laundry chute very well unless you have someone inside scrubbing it well and after the laundry chute is clean, it is just a matter of a few months in the home of a workman before the laundry chute is too filthy to dump clothes into.

A similar problem happens with "Dumb Waiter" small pully-lift shafts.
If you put soup or food inside without some kind of cleanable small-edge removal tub, then you get food spilling and stinking up the inside of the lift-shaft. Not that it matters though for this movie as the elevator is never referenced or used again.

The better question is, "How did the manor house get built with a kill-happy Witch Ghost / Puppet Demon Body on the premises?"
Even thought the house was in bad shape when the pranksters were killed before the renovation, it wasn't all that bad in terms of structural quality. No obvious signs of warped wood floors or water damage or burst pipes. The interior fixtures were not even all that old when the pranksters walked by. The microwave oven was cheap in the mid-1980's. The faucets were probably no older than the 1960's. So logically the house had to have been renovated at least a decade earlier. I even half-figure that the house was in near-pristine shape prior to the filming (movie started filming after the "renovation" scenes) and then they trashed up the house and let the lawn grow long so they could film the house as being "dilapidated" for the beginning of the movie (as that is the cheaper thing to budget in the movie's expense cost bottom line).

reply