English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 3
Audio file: 2:07 min
Story length: 284 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.



Elevators make life easy. We do not need to walk up high places or carry big bags to our room. Where did elevators come from?

Elevators are old. About 2300 years ago, they were used to move water and building materials. The Romans used them to move animals into the Coliseum. People enjoyed watching lions and tigers and bears fight men. Slaves turned big posts to move the elevators.

Steam power later replaced human power. Steam power moved elevators in small buildings. But, from time to time they had problems. Sometimes the line pulling the elevator broke. When the line broke, the elevator fell and the people riding inside were hurt or died. That’s why most people did not want to ride early elevators.

In 1853, one man changed that. His name was Elisha Otis. He did not create the elevator. He made an elevator brake. That made them safe. The brake worked very well, but people did not believe it at first.

Otis wanted to change people’s minds so he made a show. He made a small elevator outside that people could see. It was quite high. Otis stood on top. His helper cut the line holding the elevator. People were surprised. The elevator did not fall. Otis was safe.

His plan worked. A few years later, a store in New York City put in the first elevator for people. The store became famous. People thought elevators were now safe.

Elevators changed modern life. Without a safe elevator, high buildings would not be possible. People would not walk up many floors.

The modern city is possible because of Otis. He changed the way people thought with a good idea and a good story.

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