An elevator is a transportation device used to move goods or people vertically.
Elevators began as simple rope or chain hoists. An elevator consists of a cab or platform, the ropes required to raise and lower it and machinery to move the rope. Later refinements included steam power and hydraulic power.
In general, there are two types of elevators:
A different kind of elevator is used to transport material. It generally consists of an inclined plane on which a conveyor belt runs. The conveyor often includes partitions to prevent the material from sliding backwards. These elevators are often used in industrial and agricultural applications.
Elevators are also control surfaces on the wings of aircraft which control vertical ascent by changing the lift profile of the wing. The Wright Brothers' early aircraft worked by actually changing the shape of the entire wing. Today only a relatively small portion of the trailing edge of the wing is moved.