Ridgewood garbage company goes for a ride in vintage dumbwaiter


Finding this dumbwaiter in Manhattan really elevated my mood.

A few months ago, I was hired to give an estimate for a Manhattan interior demolition job. It was as beautiful townhouse, but of course I thought the history behind it was even cooler. I came across this dumbwaiter, which is a small freight elevator used to carry objects from level to level.

Old rope used for dumbwaiter

I know you’re wondering if I rode in it. Sadly, the answer is no. Dumbwaiters, although some can carry up to 1,000 pounds, are not for humans or animals. Only things.

Thomas Jefferson used one of the first ever dumbwaiters in his Virginia home. But, they are still found in modern buildings, such as restaurants or residential buildings.

Looking up the dumbwaiter. Wood was put there after it was converted into closets.

In this particular job, the dumbwaiter had been built to reach about five floors, every floor in the building. But, by the time I got to it, the dumbwaiter had been converted to closets in each of the apartments units. So, there wasn’t anything that resembled an elevator shaft, where I could see all the way up and down. The dumbwaiter wasn’t actually working.

By looking at the photos posted throughout this blog post, you can see each individual piece that was used to build the dumbwaiter: the old rope, the pulley to go with it, the door to the shelf.

This dumbwaiter, before the owner made it into closets, was designed to move items such as laundry, firewood and ice. And now that I think about it, it would come in pretty handy for rubbish removal jobs.

DiMola Bros Rubbish Removal
1640 Summerfield St.
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Phone: 718-326-6969
Fax: 718-326-7979
NGDimola@aol.com / http://dimolabros.com

~ by DiMolaBros1956 on October 27, 2011.

5 Responses to “Ridgewood garbage company goes for a ride in vintage dumbwaiter”

  1. Hi Nick, my apartment building in Flushing Queens, NY was built in 1929.
    It had dumbwaiters in the kitchen.

    Most apartments were renovated or updated, and the dumbwaiters were sealed over.

    You are right, it was used to send garbage into the basement.
    I have never seen one working, as I lived in this building since the 1940’s.
    My Mom & Dad had the “waiter” in the kitchen, but when I was born, I think it was already sealed up.

    Enjoy your finds and I enjoy reading about them!

  2. I lived at 75 Grant Avenue between Jamaica and Etna. When my sister lived there the dumbwaiter was still usable. It was used to send garbage down to the basement. When I moved into the building they were sealed because of rats.

  3. Hi Nick, enjoyed your article.I have a queen Ann style Victorian home that I have been trying to restore for several years. I have also found the remains of the waiter. The only thing left was a piece of rope and the shaft. Do you have any info on how to build the pulley and braking system? Would really like to restore it to the original or as close as possible. Again, thanks for your article and any help you can send my way. Pat. South jersey

    • Hi Pat – Thanks for writing. Apologies, but unfortunately I don’t have any other info on this besides the dumbwaiter piece you read. Best of luck in your restoration and thank you for reading Trash Treasures.


    • I am very knowledgeable about vintage dumbwaiters if you have any questions just give me an e-mail. Also what happened to this dumbwaiter? Was the counterweight still there?

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