An elevator (North American English)[1] or lift (Commonwealth English)[2] is a type of cable-assisted, hydraulic cylinder-assisted, or roller-track assisted machine that vertically transports people or freight between floors, levels, or decks of a building, vessel, or other structure. They are typically powered by electric motors that drive traction cables and counterweight systems such as a hoist, although some pump hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston like a jack.

Glass elevator
This elevator to the Alexanderplatz U-Bahn station in Berlin is built with glass walls and doors, exposing the inner workings.
Interior of the elevator at the New Children's Hospital in Meilahti, Helsinki, Finland.
Outside of typical elevators, shown in an office building in Portland, Oregon
Typical elevator doors

In agriculture and manufacturing, an elevator is any type of conveyor device used to lift materials in a continuous stream into bins or silos. Several types exist, such as the chain and bucket elevator, grain auger screw conveyor using the principle of Archimedes' screw, or the chain and paddles or forks of hay elevators. Languages other than English, such as Japanese, may refer to elevators by loanwords based on either elevator or lift. Due to wheelchair access laws, elevators are often a legal requirement in new multistory buildings, especially where wheelchair ramps are not possible.

Some elevators can also travel horizontally in addition to the usual vertical motion.[3]