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How A Strange Hiss Changed Platform Lifts

How A Strange Hiss Changed Platform Lifts

With the increasing demands of many warehouses and the only way to get more space without considerable expense is to build up in the air, platform lifts have become increasingly important to many supply chains and industries.

Thankfully, for each challenge, there is a solution, from a conventional cherry picker to a narrow scissor lift and a lot of specialist solutions in between, each of which uses different types of power and has a wide range of capabilities.

One of the biggest revolutions in the material lift world came from a man who saw the potential in a new type of power system for what would become known as the Genie platform lift.

Bud Bushnell was working for Seattle Bronze, a company that produced work hoists but was struggling in the mid-1960s. Despite this, Mr Bushnell saw potential in the concept of a lift that could run on compressed air and decided to buy the rights.

The signature hiss of a compressed air bottle opening sounded to Mr Bushnell similar to the type of noise a bottle being opened would make, and the rising platform resembled a djinn rising from the floor to the sky, inspiring the name Genie that would become synonymous with aerial work platforms.

Having worked with pneumatic power before in his entrepreneurial endeavours trying to fit garage doors powered by compressed air, Mr Bushnell knew there was promise in the idea, but it would not take long for his faith to pay off.

After acquiring the patent for his first hoist in 1968, a representative from a Japanese ironworks company visited Seattle looking for a potential lifting platform that would help make the business more efficient.

Before his flight back, he had placed an order for 15,000, and this alongside the surging popularity of equipment rental in the 1970s, helped Genie thrive through the rest of the 20th century.