What’s a Dumbwaiter Lift?

What’s a Dumbwaiter?

If an award existed for the most oddly named elevator, the dumbwaiter lift would surely be odds-on favourite to receive it. The name has stuck, though, since it was first applied in the middle of the 18th century, and it’s survived to this day! The title ‘Dumbwaiter’ refers to a trend in aristocratic English houses for replacing servants who were likely to ‘leak’ tea-table gossip, with mute mechanical counterparts.

What’s a Dumbwaiter Lift?

The dumbwaiter is the workhorse of the goods lift range. It’s a small service lift which carries food from a kitchen on one floor, to the dining room on another floor. Once finished with, the plates are returned to the kitchen for washing up. For much of its life, the dumbwaiter has been a Cinderella, hidden from view. More recently though, this unique lift has begun to be featured in restaurants, homes and retail environments.

How Has the Dumbwaiter Evolved?

Back in the 18th century the pulley-based dumbwaiter lift was a novelty for rich people, and it stayed that way for over a century. In 1883 however, an American entrepreneur saw its potential, and developed the mechanical prototype. It was immediately adopted as a welcome innovation by restaurants, hotels and public houses.

By the 1950s the dumbwaiter lift was so much a part of British life, that the playwright Harold Pinter celebrated it in his 1957 play The Dumb Waiter. In this instance the small goods lift takes on a sinister aspect. Two small time hit men sit in a London basement awaiting instructions; whilst they’re waiting food orders begin to appear via the defunct dumb waiter lift. Is it a joke, a trick, or a sign that this time they’re prey, rather than predator?

Dumbwaiters for the 21st Century

The Tower Lifts team has designed and installed hundreds of dumbwaiter lifts over the past two decades. The vast majority of our installations have been for the hospitality sector, but by no means all. We’ve installed dumbwaiters in JD Sports outlets across the UK, and our design was featured in their flagship Leeds store.

The dumbwaiter is also returning to its residential origins as interior design becomes more inclusive. For disabled, or mobility impaired householders, the inclusion of a dumbwaiter in the home is invaluable. It can be customised to transport food, glasses, shopping or laundry between floors, providing independence and ease of access.

About Tower Lifts

If you think the dumbwaiter lift is a solution that could benefit your business, Tower Lifts can provide a bespoke design. We’re a leading UK lift design and installation business, with nearly two decades’ experience of installing dumbwaiter lifts for industry, retail, hospitality and residential clients. The skilled and experienced Tower Lifts team guarantee technical excellence, LOLER compliance and an unblemished safety record. We deliver good-looking goods lifts that benefit your business.

If you’d like more information about having a bespoke dumbwaiter lift designed and installed, call the Tower Lifts team today on 01525 601099

Tower Lifts carry out design and installation on a varied range of lifts throughout the UK including:

Domestic Lifts • Food Lifts • Bespoke Platform Lifts • Service Lifts • Platform Lifts • Goods Lifts • Scenic Lifts • Heavy Duty / Car Lifts • Passenger Lifts • Dumbwaiter Lifts • MRL Lifts • Fire lifts • Residential Lifts • low-Headroom Lift