What is that elevator smell? Machine oil?

When I take the elevator at work, the smell takes me back 40 years to the only elevator I regularly rode as a small child, the one to the doctor’s office. And a tiny part of me starts fearing the possibility of the dreaded shot.

What is it that makes an elevator today in Florida smell exactly like an elevator 40 years ago in Pennsylvania? It smells kinda like oil, is there a special oil used primarily on elevator mechanisms? Or maybe it’s just a common machine oil used on a lot of heavy machinery, and I’m just not around machinery that often.

How tall is the elevator?
If it’s under a few stories, it could be hydraulic, and you could be smelling the fluid.

Oil is mostly used for gearing in an oil bath (like in a gearbox). My guess would be you’re smelling the grease on the cables.

Probably hydraulic oil. Almost every Hydraulic elevator smells the same. Some oil leaks out of the gland on the jack under the elevator. And it works it way up the shaft so they all smell the same.

On a cable elevator the oil used on the cables does not gas off so they give off very little order. The oil in the gear box in the roof machine room is a heavy oil and does not gas off much. The order in a machine room is a combination of carbon brushes (mild), cable oil (weak), gear oil (weak), brakes (hope fully weak), and relay arcing (weak to mild). And every machine room is different. Plus the odor from the machine room seldom travels down a shaft to the car.

OP, your doctor, when you were a child, shot you up with hydraulic oil??? :eek:

The current elevator is only between two levels, so I suppose it’s hydraulic. No idea about the one 40 years ago.

Sounds like hydraulic oil is the best guess so far. Thanks all!

Two stop will be hydraulic. How tall was you old Dr. office?

My mother thinks it was 4 or 5 stories, but she’s not sure. It was like 40 years ago in a different state.

then it could have been a hydraulic elevator.

I believe its Ozone… The electric motors and high voltage switches spark…
and sparks make ozone.

But anyway its a similar smell to hydraulic fluid, so whether its got electric or hydraulic actuation of the door (or same for escalator, or automatic door or anything like that…) similar smell…

New elevator smell is the best.

A hydraulic elevator smells much different than an cable elevator. The hydraulic elevator smell is much stronger.

Any ozone on a cable elevator would also be in the machine room above the elevator and would not reach the car because of the stack effect of an elevator shaft.

The machine room on a hydraulic elevator is very seldom in the elevator shaft. Normally it is in a from outside of the shaft. And the motor would be a three phase induction motor and would not have any brushes.

The machine room for the elevator at work is right behind the elevator on the first floor. More evidence it’s hydraulic, which likely wasn’t in doubt anyway, since it’s just two floors.