7 Things You Did Not Know About Stairs
If a step is off by as little as 3/8 inch, some people will trip
If there is one good reason you should look for the SMA Member logo on the website
of your favorite stair company, this is it. Although slight variations as much as 3/16
inch are usually undetectable, the difference between a smooth walk up the stairs or a devastating crash down them can be steps that are not uniform. And depending which stair
is off, that crash can be short and shameful or long and painful. A well-made stairway is
laid out in equal divisions of the run (horizontal distance the stair traverses) and of the
total rise (vertical distance) such the tread and riser of every step including the top and
bottom steps are equal.
The Longest Staircase In The World Is In The Swiss Alps
If you think the stairs out of your basement can seem like a long haul after dark with
imaginary monsters chasing you, you would be right. But they still aren’t as long as this staircase located in the Swiss Alps. Just ask any of the participants of the annual race
up the 11,674 unforgiving risers and treads. Notice the blissful look on their faces. The
SMA encourages each and every one of them… from our air conditioned offices.
A Guy In Germany Climbed Nearly 5 Times That Much For A World Record
On September 28th, 2014, Chris Riedl of Germany climbed tower 185 in Frankfurt for
12 hours and a total of 43,128 feet and 8 inches to claim the world record for the most
stairs traversed in just half a day. To put that number in perspective, airplanes usually
fly at 39,000 feet. This guy climbed nearly a mile higher than that.
The Oldest Known Wooden Staircase In The World Is Over 3,000 Years Old!
Found a full 300 feet underground in an old salt mine, these stairs should have long been gone. However, the microorganisms that would have caused the pine and spruce stairs to decompose long ago do not exist where salt is mined. Believed to be created by the
Hallstatt Civilization in the area that is now modern day Austria, they were moved from
their salty home two years ago due to the mountain falling in on them. They now reside
where Indiana Jones would believe they belong: In a museum!
There Is A Staircase That Defies Gravity
At the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe New Mexico, stands a staircase that baffles even
the most seasoned veterans of the stair industry. It is a hand crafted wonder, with two
360 degree turns, no center support. According to at least one story it was built by a
French immigrant in the 1870’s who was later killed by a politician and rancher over water rights, this marvel stands as a testament to what can be accomplished by a master of
It also only costs $2.50 to see, making it one of the most cost effective
attractions in the entire southwest. Although the technology used in building stairways like
this is now highly mechanized the same geometrical principals are employed by SMA craftsman building todays marvels.
Spiral Stairs Were Used In Castles For A Reason
Many of us associate spiral staircases with castles and rightly so. But not many of us
realize they were designed with a military purpose as well as their space saving efficiency. They were built to ascend counter-clockwise in order to give an advantage to right-handed swordsmen who would be defending the castle from invaders
Stairs Used To Be Built With One Riser A Little Bit Off To Trip Up Burglars?
This is an unfortunate hoax. The Idea was that a burglar trying to climb your stairs
in the dark would mis-judge the step and alert the homeowner to his presence or
fall down and be incapacitated. The reality however is even more “alarming”. If your
stairs have such a “mis-step” it was likely built in without the requisite
knowledge and expertise you can count on from SMA Member Stairbuilders and Manufacturers.