It’s easy to take stairs for granted. As far back as we can remember, they’ve always been there. They might take many different forms, shapes and sizes, ranging from straight to spiral to multi-level but there can be no doubting the fact the staircase is one of mankind’s greatest and most important inventions.
But who did come up with the idea of having a set of steps to get between different levels and where do their origins lie?
There is evidence to suggest the earliest forms of staircases may have appeared around 6000BC and were carved from tree trunks. However, the earliest known staircase is located in northern Austria and has been preserved over the centuries in a Bronze Age salt mine. The staircase, made from a combination of pine and spruce is believed to have been used as a means for miners to go deep into the mine and is situated 300 feet below the surface. The staircase has remained in perfect condition as the micro-organisms that cause wood to decompose are not found in salt mines.
Other examples of ancient stairs that have either been discovered or have remained in regular use over the course of time include the Mexican pyramids of Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. Exactly when they were constructed isn’t certain but it’s believed they were built between the 2nd century BC and the 3rd century AD. What is clear is the use of steps within the structure.
It’s also believed some of the pyramids in Egypt may have initially featured steps that were later filled in, while expeditions to explore the inside of pyramids have shown the interior chambers were connected by sloped passages and tunnels, rather than staircases.
Spiral stairs appeared much earlier than you may think as well. The earliest known spiral staircases appeared at a temple in the former Greek colony of Selinunte on the island of Sicily, although many of the temples were subsequently destroyed and only partial remains of the staircases are left. In fact, the majority of early examples of spiral staircases are to be found in former Greco-Roman cities and settlements, suggesting it was a very popular style of the time and it subsequently caught on across the Roman Empire, particularly after the construction of Trajan’s Column in the 2nd century AD.
These early staircases are an example of something humans got right very early on and there has been little reason to change over the years, other than for aesthetic purposes. And they say if ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so UK Stair Parts is committed to providing quality stair components, like those that have been used by people the world over for millennia!