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What is a Dumbwaiter Used For? History & FAQs

Dumbwaiter lifts (sometimes styled as ‘dumb waiter’) are a type of goods or service lift. Installing a dumbwaiter gives you a small freight elevator, which will help you to take loads between floors. Modern dumbwaiters use electric motors but the earliest models were controlled manually using a system of pulleys.

Originally, the dumbwaiter was designed to elevate plates of food from a lower-level kitchen to the dining rooms on an upper level. Today, other uses for a dumbwaiter lift include the following:

  • Laundry: In spaces such as hotels, care homes or hostels dumbwaiters are often used to move laundry between floors. Housekeeping staff can boost their efficiency and reduce fatigue with a dumbwaiter or trolley elevator designed for moving their cart.
  • Documents or books: In schools dumbwaiters may be used for moving heavy documents, books and other files. Early law firms in New York City historically used dumbwaiters to transport case files and other important, quite heavy, documentation.
  • Medical supplies: Carefully laid out trays of medication, bulky equipment and other essential healthcare goods can be quite heavy and sensitive to lots of movement. As a result, dumbwaiters offer an excellent way to move medical supplies in hospitals.
  • Dishes and catering: Dirty dishes can be easily transported to a kitchen for a prompt wash via a dumbwaiter. Crockery, plates and glasses are also much less likely to drop and break during transit when using a well-designed dumbwaiter system.
  • Personal items: As dumbwaiters alleviate physical strain, they can be used for moving personal effects. In spaces such as retirement homes, a dumbwaiter lift can provide a greater sense of independence for residents who want to move things between floors.
gartec dumbwaiter concealed behind a door

A simple dumbwaiter can speed up work processes in a commercial environment and a residential dumbwaiter can improve a person’s quality of life at home. Although you might fit them anywhere, you can expect to see a type of dumbwaiter in the following environments:

  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Libraries
  • Law firms
  • Private residences

Dumbwaiters will fit almost anywhere lifting is required. As experts in designing and installing a wide range of commercial lifts, we are well-placed to offer a dumbwaiter definition and explain their uses.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our commercial dumbwaiter lifts.

a gartec dumbwaiter with a box of fresh bread rolls in front of it

How Much Does a Dumbwaiter Cost?

The prices of the Gartec Dumbwaiter are relatively low compared to other designs, simply because they are much smaller and do not carry people. However, many factors can affect a dumbwaiter cost, such as the following:

  • Number of stopping points, a bigger range of travel means more materials and greater installation difficulty that can significantly influence costs
  • Size, we offer both single double shaft designs – for two cars in one lift. Size options will increase your transport capacity but will also result in a higher cost
  • Electrical supply, if your dumbwaiter lift is designed for heavy lifting across many floors you may require a more extensive electrical setup that can then raise costs

The Gartec Dumbwaiter is available at a starting price point of around £5,000. You can expect a dramatic fluctuation in costs depending on your other requirements and the specifics of your situation. We will offer a precise view of all costs when you contact us to learn more.

History of the Dumbwaiter

Like much of the world of commercial and residential lifts, there are roots in antiquity for the dumbwaiter. However, the modern dumbwaiter was born in New York City, where high-rise buildings necessitated the need for all sorts of passenger, goods and service lifts.

A patent filed by George W. Cannon for the modern mechanical dumbwaiter was filed in 1887. This patent generated vast amounts of wealth for Cannon, but the patent is now expired and many designs are used by all sorts of manufacturers – including our unique lift designs.

At Gartec, we specialise in innovating modern lifting mechanisms that provide cost-effective, environmentally-friendly dumbwaiters. We use special techniques such as our patented screw and nut drive system, for convenient, near-silent and superbly-efficient dumbwaiter lifts.

Install a Commercial Dumbwaiter Lift

Whether you run a hotel, care home, school or another space, a dumbwaiter lift can ensure that you keep the daily strain of your essential activities to a minimum and improve your processes. Our dumbwaiter lift can fit most types of commercial properties thanks to the slimline designs.

As leading providers of a range of commercial lifts for over 25 years, we are ideal as a source of information on what a dumbwaiter is and its uses. If you would like to install a cost-efficient dumbwaiter lift then please feel free to contact us and find out more.