Tracing The History of Dumbwaiters

Dumbwaiters are basically small lifts that are transported from one floor to another carrying various things. These lifts are small and compact in size and are not used by people. These dumbwaiter lifts are very helpful when it comes to doing the tedious task of carrying items up and down a building structure that would normally become burdensome and tiring for the workers.

Today in many sectors, the dumbwaiter elevators are used to not only reduce the task load on people working in that sector but to also make the working process swift and efficient. Dumbwaiters have reduced the time taken to do the tedious task of transportation. 

However, has it always been this way? Have the dumbwaiters been in the scene right from the starting or is it later that the need to have dumbwaiters was understood? Well, in order to answer such questions, we need to take a look at the historical timeline of how these dumbwaiter lifts came into existence and how their invention has helped the mankind over a period of time, where most of the elevator manufacturers and suppliers produce this kind of dumbwaiter lift for any building structure.


The first trace to using lifts can be found back in Roman times, around 200BC, when the Romans had invented the dumbwaiter to carry goods which was used for thousands of years.


The term ‘dumbwaiter’ was used to denote the silent working of the kitchen along with staff where the intention was to keep the noise and the odour of the kitchen away from the guests and make the process of serving food a smooth one. Earlier these dumbwaiters would usually go from up to down where the kitchen was usually downstairs or in the basement and hence, the dumbwaiters were not to be heard or seen by anyone.

The term ‘dumbwaiter’ became infamous with the play that was published in 1957 called ‘ The Dumb Waiter’ where it narrates a story of mysteries that keeps getting unravelled in the story. 

Though the term ‘dumbwaiter’ may not have been used earlier even when people were using it but certainly after 1957, it came to be used in the elevator manufacturing industry. The elevator may have remained silent but not dumb as its benefits were realized by many sectors and soon its usage spread commercially like food and beverages sector, hotel sector, hospital sector and many others.


The early dumbwaiter lifts were basically human-powered devices looped with a rope along with a pulley that was controlled manually. Sometimes, they also had a speaking tube which enabled the waiters to communicate with their chefs who were working in the kitchen. These lifts then evolved with the coming of the industrial revolution in the 1920s that had added the electric motor as an important mechanical device to run the dumbwaiters.


Even today in the 21st century, dumbwaiters are very much in demand especially by the catering business and hotel sector where there is a huge footfall that needs to be catered. It is the same silent and unseen dumbwaiter lift doing its job with some new technological and mechanical features that have added to the efficiency of transporting things such as :

  • Introduction of Structures or Divisions inside the dumbwaiter lift
  • State of Art Intercoms
  • Safety Locks
  • Lift Stop Feature to skip floors also

Today, many homes are also having dumbwaiters to facilitate the carrying of goods from one floor to another. 


Dumbwaiters would always be in demand in different sectors like the hotel, restaurant, construction and any other sector that deals with a huge number of items that need to be transported frequently that also on a daily basis. Since these numerous sectors are constantly striving to cater to their clients efficiently, they need dumbwaiters that can reduce the workload and time. 

In this regard, one must note that the company, Polo Elevators which is an elevator manufacturing company in Delhi, manufactures these dumbwaiters for various sectors with all kinds of technological and mechanical upgrades that will meet the modern and current demands of the industry. 

Polo Elevators has a good reputation as elevators / lifts suppliers and manufacturers in Delhi and if one is looking to buy dumbwaiters then they should certainly contact the Polo Elevators Company.