It's a business born 90 years ago when a Harrisburg
entrepreneur wanted to help an ailing friend move freely between floors in his
home. That's when C.C. Crispen built the “inclinator,” a wooden chair
and foot rest that moved up and down stairs on a steel rail, powered by a
simple electric motor.
“The original chair design was for two seats to
allow a nurse or attendant to travel up and down the stairs with an informed
owner or resident,” explained Mark Crispen, Director of Market and great
grandson of C.C. Crispen
Five years after inventing the stair lift, Crispen
introduced the “elevette,” a residential elevator that evolved over
the years to become the country's leading brand of home elevators. In addition,
vertical platform wheelchair lifts were added to the product line, as were
units designed to carry household cargo between floors
“This is a residential dumbwaiter. We call it a home
waiter,” said Crispen, demonstrating a lobby model. “Just push the
button to call it down to your location.”
Paul Krum joined the business in 1929 and forty years
later succeeded C.C. Crispen as president. Today, the company is still owned
and operated by the Crispen and Krum family.
“We're still a very small company and we're family
owned,” noted Crispen. “And we try to run the business with good
About 50 people make up the company work force, with all products
still custom crafted in their Harrisburg plant. Their elevators and lifts are
sold primarily in the United States, but with a growing presence in Canada,
Mexico, Central and South America and the Eastern Caribbean.
“You talk to people anywhere within the industry and
they're like 'Inclinator. Oh wow,” said Crispen with a look of family
pride. “Yes,they all know it.”
In Harrisburg, with an uplifting story of success, I'm
Chuck Rhodes for abc 27 News.