Although elevators had been around for about 100 years, the electric elevator got its patent in 1887. That made it simpler for apartment houses and skyscrapers to utilize the devices. And by the early 20th century, elevators were much more common fixtures in both public and residential buildings. That may have inspired Irving Berlin, in 1912, to write the song "Elevator Man." At the time, it was common for each elevator to have an operator, whose job was opening and shutting the various gates and doors, and selecting the proper floor for each rider. Today we press a button.