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Jesse W. Reno

AKA Jesse Wilford Reno

Born: 4-Aug-1861
Birthplace: Fort Leavenworth, KS
Died: 2-Jun-1947
Location of death: Pelham Manor, NY
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Protestant
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Inventor, Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Invented the escalator

Inventor Jesse W. Reno built the first working escalator, introduced as an amusement park ride at New York's Coney Island in 1896. The attraction ran for just two weeks at the island's Old Iron Pier, but in that time and in a subsequent demonstration on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, more than 75,000 passengers rode its 25% incline rising seven feet off the ground. An earlier, steam-powered escalator had been designed but never built by Nathan Ames in 1859.

Reno built functioning escalators for several American subway systems, and designed a spiral escalator which was installed in the London tube, before selling the patent for his "Reno Inclined Elevator" to Otis Elevator. He also invented a submersible vehicle for salvaging shipwrecks and an early aircraft carrier (a floating airfield driven by propeller), and designed an electric rail system that operated in Americus, Georgia. His father, Jesse Lee Reno, commanded the 9th Corps of the US Army during the American Civil War, and is the namesake of Reno, Nevada.

Father: Jesse L. Reno (US military officer, b. 20-Apr-1823, d. 14-Sep-1862 Civil War)
Mother: Mary Blanes Cross Reno (m. 1-Nov-1853)
Brother: Conrad Reno (attorney)
Wife: Marie Snowman Reno (m. 15-Jan1901)

    High School: Media Academy, Media, PA (1879)
    University: Engineering, Lehigh University (1883)

    National Inventors Hall of Fame
    General Electric Engineer (Thomson-Houston Electric Co.; 1890-92)
    Reno Electric Stairways and Conveyors, Ltd.
    Chi Phi Fraternity
    French Ancestry
    Huguenot Ancestry


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