The Lacerda Elevator is located in the city of Salvador, Bahia. One of the principal touristic points and postal cards of the city, it’s situated in the Cayru Plaza in the neighborhood of Comércio next to the Modelo Market, and connects the Cidade Baixa (Lower City) with the Cidade Alta (Upper City).
The most famous elevator of Bahia transports some 900 thousand passengers per month or around 28 thousand passengers per day at the cost of five centavos per passenger and a duration of 30 seconds.
The famous elevator was constructed by the engineer Agusto Frederico de Lacerda, his brother’s associate, businessman Antônio Francisco de Lacerda, creator of the Company of Urban Transport, using pieces of steel imported from England. The work was initiated in 1869 and with two working hydraulic elevators and in 1873, the inauguration occurred at which point it was named the Hydraulic Elevator of Conceição da Praia. Popularly though, it was known as the Elevador do Parafuso (or Elevator of the Screw), and later in 1896, it was renamed as the Elevator Lacerda to honor its maker.
After its inauguration, it started to become the principal means of transport between the two parts of the city. Initially operating with two cabins which nowadays function as four modern electricity-driven cabins that can transport 20 passengers each.
With the original structure, the passengers had to be weighed individually as the weight of all the combined passengers was calculated until the maximum limit was reached. The Baron of Jeremoabo (Cícero Dantas) registered the weight of himself and of other authorities:
- “On the 16th day of March of 1889, we weighed ourselves in the elevator, giving the following result: Pinho – 54 kilos, or 3 arrobas and 98 pounds; Cícero – 61 kilos, or 4 arrobas and 2 pounds; Guimarães – 65 kilos or 4 arrobas and 10 pounds; Artur Rios – 73 kilos or 4 arrobas and 26 pounds; and Vaz Ferreira – 115 kilos, or 7 arrobas and 20 pounds.”
For a mini-documentary (PT) on the Lacerda Group and how they helped transform the city of Salvador, go here.