Home » Alexander Miles inventor of closing and opening elevator doors










(May 18, 1838 – May 7, 1918)

African-American inventor who was best known for being awarded a patent for an automatically opening and closing elevator doors design in 1887. He was awarded the patent, U.S. Patent 371,207, on October 11, 1887.
Alexander Miles was born in Ohio in the year of 1838. He was the son of Michael and Mary Miles. He resided in Waukesha, Wisconsin and earned his living as a barber. Alexander met and married a Caucasian woman, Carolyn J. Chapman of New York, and they had a daughter named Grace. During his time in Duluth, he worked in real estate and owned several buildings, both commercial and residential. He is noted as being the only African-American on the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Candace J. Dunlap who at the time was a widow with two children who was four years his senior and a native of New York. Together they had a daughter, born in 1876, named Grace. Shortly after her birth, the family relocated to Duluth, Minnesota.
Alexander Miles through his concerns for people safety and children made a huge contribution to the elevator industry. Today elevators are still incorporating his ideas . His life visions develop a legacy and has broken down many barriers.


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