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History: Architectural accommodations

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  • 1857 (March 23) - Elisha Otis's first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City. Today, elevators are extremely important accommodations for people with disabilities.[1]
  • 1956 (April 16) - Dr. Robert Adler, an engineer with Zenith Radio Corporation / Zenith Electronics Corporation, files a patent for the first practical wireless television remote control. The device, marketed as the “Zenith Space Command,” used ultrasonics (high-frequency sound) to transmit channel up/down and power on/off signals. The device was a precursor to the other types of environmental control units used today. [2] [3]
  • 1968 - The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 is passed. It "requires that buildings and facilities that are designed, constructed, or altered with Federal funds, or leased by a Federal agency, comply with Federal standards for physical accessibility. ABA requirements are limited to architectural standards in new and altered buildings and in newly leased facilities. They do not address the activities conducted in those buildings and facilities. Facilities of the U.S. Postal Service are covered by the ABA."[4]
  • 1988 (September 13) - The Fair Housing Act, originally passed in 1968 as part of the Civil Rights Act and prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of race, religion, etc., is amended on to also cover disability. The Act mandates equal housing opportunities for people with disabilities and makes it unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing.[5][6]


  1. "Otis: A Visual Timeline." Otis Worldwide. 2008. Accessed on March 21, 2008
  2. Adler Remote Control System. U.S. Patent #2,923,918. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  3. The Great Idea Finder - Remote Control Accessed March 7, 2008.
  4. A Guide to Disability Rights Laws U.S. Department of Justice. September, 2005. Accessed on February 1, 2008.
  5. "A Guide to Disability Rights Laws." U.S. Department of Justice. September, 2005. Accessed on February 4, 2008.
  6. "History of Fair Housing in America." Access Washington. Accessed on February 4, 2008.