An elevator (North American English) or lift (Commonwealth English) 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.
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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.