Earthquake-causing elevator discovered in Seattle Sheraton

The elevators in the Seattle Sheraton are fitted with buttons that allow their riders to rain earthquakes upon the Pacific Northwest. This power is largely used for good, and that is rather affirming -- people really are quite nice.

EARTHQUAKE button, Sheraton, Seattle, WA, USA


  1. A lot of cities inexplicably have building codes demanding escape routes for fires. Why the hell would I want to let a raging inferno escape the building, I ask you?

  2. We have this at my office in Santa Monica too. Ever wonder why there are never earthquakes on weekends?

  3. The public health building a couple blocks from there has one as well. I never summoned the nerve to try pushing it.

  4. The earthquake button does not create earthquakes. That’s ridiculous. Instead, if you press the earthquake button, the elevator will take you to the nearest earthquake.

  5. It all sounds like a good idea, but you have to remember that you will be in an elevator when you cause the earthquake. Only people who desperately need an earthquake would ever push that button.

  6. That’s a Matheson button. If you push it, the earthquake will happen to someone you don’t know.  But when the next person who doesn’t know you pushes it, you’ll be the next target.

      1. I took it more as a, “Wow, flickr person, your post made it to a popular blog.” And then Cory said, “Yeah, dummy. I edit it.”

        But that’s only my interpretation.

  7. This is the result of the same sloppy thinking that leaves us with airport announcements stating “due to security, all liquids must be [too small to last the length of your trip].”It’s the opposite of security that mandates that.

  8. As a Seattle resident just a couple of blocks from the Sheraton, I want to let you know what it does! It takes the elevator to the nearest floor, (likely) locks the brakes, and opens the doors. At that point, to use the elevator again, you have to reset it with a key. It also may just be a light – if so, it does that upon detecting seismic activity, and the light turns on to let you know why the elevator no longer works. :)

  9. This is actually a visual indicator that is either activated by a “ringer” style system, whereby the counterweight has an arm attached to it that is essentially grounded that runs around a wire that has a constant voltage pushed through it, if the counterweight is displaced by an earthquake, the arm shorts the circuit, and places the elevator on Emergency Earthquake Service, it moves to the next floor AWAY from the counterweight, and stops until the control circuits are manually reset, or you may put the elevator into emergency operation via a keyswitch in the car and observe where the counterweights are in the hoistway and whether or not they were actually displaced from their guiding means. Emergency Earthquake Service may also be required to be activated based on a seismic sensor which is located in the machine room for the elevator, attached to one of the structural members present in the same room, and wired into the control circuits that way. If it’s a button, it’s merely by coincidence, and cannot do a danged thing to cause an earthquake.

    Source: I’m a freaking elevator inspector!

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