HSB Paternoster lift – Stockholm, Sweden - Atlas Obscura

Stockholm, Sweden

HSB Paternoster lift

Stockholm's last remaining paternoster elevator. 

Most people pass the HSB main office without a second glance. But what these uninterested passersby are unaware of is that the building holds an architectural treasure: Stockholm’s last paternoster elevator.

In the past, paternoster lifts were in office buildings, archives, and other places where people frequently traveled between floors. This is because these elevators move much more efficiently than traditional elevators.

The elevators travel on a slow, continuously running loop. Passengers step on as it runs, then step off once they’ve reached their desired level—no smashing buttons required. Needless to say, this endless movement is not ideal for the less mobile or those carrying large, bulky objects. They can also be a bit troublesome for the accident-prone, as you have to make sure to keep all limbs inside the cabin at all times.

This particular elevator has been running since the 1950s. It has outlived most of its fellow paternoster lifts. Over the years, it has been updated with lasers and sensors to prevent accidents, but the safety inspector seems a bit wary of it still. A maximum of two people at a time are allowed to use it and kids are not supposed to tag along for the ride, though according to the safety inspector any passengers would be unsafe: the elevator is only certified to carry one kilogram of weight.

Know Before You Go

The elevator is accessible upon appointment, just email the company well in advance. If you just want to look at the elevator, this is possible through the glass to the left of the main entrance.

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