Alexander Miles of Duluth, Minnesota patented an electric elevator (U.S. pat#371,207) on October 11, 1887 (see patent below). Alexander Miles did not invent the first elevator, however, his design was very important. Alexander Miles improved the method of the opening and closing of elevator doors; and he improved the closing of the opening to the elevator shaft when an elevator was not on that floor. Alexander Miles created an automatic mechanism that closed access to the shaft. At that time elevator patrons or operators were often required to manually shut a door to cutoff access to the elevator shaft. People would forget to close the shaft door and as a result there were accidents with people falling down the elevator shafts.