An elevator (US and Canada) or lift (UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, India, South Africa, and Nigeria) is a type of vertical transportation machine that moves people or freight between floors, levels, or decks of a building, vessel, or other structure. Elevators 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.
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 may have loanwords based on either elevator or lift. Because of wheelchair access laws, elevators are often a legal requirement in new multistory buildings, especially where wheelchair ramps would not be possible.
There are also some elevators which can go sideways in addition to the usual up-and-down motion.