Otis Autotronic (also known as AUTOTRONIC Elevatoring) was an automatic programmed elevator system introduced by Otis in 1948 for intensive elevator group operation. The word Autotronic was taken from the word "automatic" and "electronic". There is also the Autotronic Unlimited elevator system. Not much is known about it, but it is known to exist in 1964-1968.


Otis Autotronic elevator was the first elevator to consider traffic patterns and peak times. It was designed to "think", and operated automatically and electronically as a coordinated group. Unlike previous automated models, these elevators were large, fast, and could change speeds and adjust their schedules to suit traffic demands, bypassing floors when fully loaded, and prevents long waiting. The attendant simply registers floor calls and initiates door closing. These elevators were also capable of launching themselves to wherever they were needed, based on time of day and anticipated traffic patterns. They also included electronic door sensors in the 1950s that could detect a person so they would not close on them[1]. Otis Elevoice, a voice, was an option. The Otis Autotronic was also a popular elevator system for high-rise buildings during the 1950s, as it could save building operation up to $7,000 a car each year.

Autotronic also featured a "nudge" function if a car was held at a floor for an excessive period of time through either the "door open" button being held down, or the door sensors being blocked. The nudge function was a way of encouraging the users to stop delaying the car, by slowly closing the doors at a reduced speed, accompanied by the sounding of an intermittent buzzer, whilst the floor indicator for that floor would flash[2].

Most Otis Autotronic elevators only have hall lanterns for intermediate and terminal floors. For the main/lobby floor, a floor annunciator panel and an illuminating THIS CAR UP lantern are usually present.

The first Autotronic system was installed in the Atlantic Refining Company Building in Dallas, Texas in 1950 and was the first to feature the first high speed operator-less elevators in the whole world.


Further information: Otis Elevator Fixtures Guide (American)#Touch_sensitive_buttons

Most Autoronic elevators from the 1950s to early 1980s are using square Lexan touch-sensitive buttons which used electronic tube behind them. Otis called them "electronic touch buttons". However, due to a fire hazard claim, these fixtures on existing Autotronic elevators today are being replaced with newer ADA-compliant fixtures.

Before the introduction of touch-sensitive fixtures, early Autotronic elevators used pop-out buttons similar to the ones used on early Westinghouse Selectomatic elevators. The buttons latched in when pressed, and remained as such until the car reached its highest, (or lowest level) before reversing, at which point all buttons would pop out again. The pop-out buttons allows the elevator user to cancel car calls by manually pulling the button back out.

Notable installations


  • The Tower Hotel (Minolta Tower), Niagara Falls, Ontario
  • 505 2nd St., Calgary, Alberta

United States of America

  • Sibley Tower, Rochester, NY
  • United Nations Secretary Building, New York City, NY
  • 100 Park Avenue, New York City, NY
  • Frick Building, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Investment Building, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Macy's (formerly Kaufmann's), Pittsburgh, PA
  • Oliver Building, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Macy's, Chicago, IL
  • Sheraton Hotel (formerly Blake Hotel), Charlotte, NC
  • Ivey Building, Charlotte, NC
  • Robert E Lee Building, Jackson, MS
  • Bank of the West Tower (outside downtown), Albuquerque, NM
  • 500 North Main Street, Roswell, NM
  • Nix Hospital, San Antonio, TX
  • 300 East Main Street, El Paso, TX
  • The Statler Hotel, Dallas, TX
  • 401 Lincoln Road, Miami, FL
  • The Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
  • Harrah's West Tower, Reno, NV
  • Sheraton Hotel North Tower, Boston, MA (1964)
  • Starks Building, Louisville, KY
  • Cygnet Building, Colorado Springs, CO
  • FirstBank Tower, Colorado Springs, CO
  • The Time & Temperature Building, Portland, ME
  • Baker Building, Minneapolis, MN
  • Schofield Building, Cleveland, OH
  • Ameritrust Tower, Cleveland, OH
  • Midland Building, Cleveland, OH
  • City Club Building, Cleveland, OH
  • Erieview Tower, Cleveland, OH
  • Huntington Building, Cleveland, OH
  • Landmark Office Towers, Cleveland, OH
  • 140 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA (modernized from Otis Signal Control elevators)

Other countries

  • Central Pacific, Hong Kong, China (1964)
  • Unicorn Trade Centre, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, China (1964, modernized)
  • Peninsula Excelsior Hotel, Singapore (1974, modernized)




AMAZING Otis Autotronic elevator @ Sibleys Tower Rochester NY

AMAZING Otis Autotronic elevator @ Sibleys Tower Rochester NY

Otis Autotronic elevators in Sibley Tower, Rochester, NY (video: Dieselducy).

VINTAGE 1960s Otis Touch Sensitive Traction Elevators @ 500 N. Main St

VINTAGE 1960s Otis Touch Sensitive Traction Elevators @ 500 N. Main St. Roswell, NM

Otis Autotronic elevators at the Bank of America building in Roswell, NM (video: CubsRule2040)

Old Otis Autotronic Elevator @ Macy's Pittsburgh PA

Old Otis Autotronic Elevator @ Macy's Pittsburgh PA

Otis Autotronic elevators in Macy's Pittsburgh PA (video: Dieselducy).

Electronic Automatic Control of Elevator Traffic "Skylines Unlimited" 1950 Otis Elevator Co

Electronic Automatic Control of Elevator Traffic "Skylines Unlimited" 1950 Otis Elevator Co.

1950s Otis Autotronic promotional video.


  1. Otis Worldwide - A Visual Timeline (jump to the 1950-1974 tab)
  2. It's elevaTOUR Time! The Starks Building Lousiville KY with Otis Autotronic Elevators
  3. 1976 High Rise Schindler elevator with pop out buttons (Beirut, Lebanon)

External links