Miles's automatic elevator doors dramatically improved passenger safety.
Background: Miles's exact birthplace and birthdate are unknown. He was living in Duluth, Minn., when he came up with his famous invention.
Invention: Early elevators were different from the mostly automated devices we're familiar with today. Passengers had to manually open and close the elevator doors, as well as the door leading to the elevator shaft. If anyone forgot to close the shaft door, other passengers could fall down the shaft when expecting to step into the elevator. Miles invented a mechanism that triggered the shaft doors to open and close along with the elevator doors, making the ride safer.
Did You Know? The elevators we ride today still feature automatic shaft doors similar to the invention Miles patented in 1887.