Andrew Reams, (Born August 9, 1977) also known as DieselDucy by his YouTube channel name, is the most well-known elevator enthusiast with over 100 million views as of July 2017, widely recognized as the founder of the elevator community, being the first person known to film elevators as a hobby, and coming up with the idea for it; he filmed his very first elevator on June 5th, 1993. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he currently lives in Roanoke, Virginia, United States.


Early Life, First Elevator Ride, Beginnings of Elevator Interest, & Brief Fear of Elevators (1977-1988)

Andrew has been passionate about elevators since he was a child. When he was 2-3 years old, he took his very first elevator ride in an elevator in the original, now rebuilt West County Center shopping mall in St. Louis, MO and he found it fascinating how it seemed "like magic" that the elevator could take him to other floors without him noticing. Since he seemed to enjoy it so much, him and his father throughout much of his childhood would go to random office buildings around town and ride their elevators. There were a couple years, however, probably sometime in the mid-80s, that he was a little scared of elevators since he got stuck in one, but after that period, he overcame the fear after riding that same elevator again once he felt brave enough and realizing it worked properly.

Pioneering Concept of Hobby-Related Elevator Photography & First Elevator Videos (1988-1993)

In 1988, Andrew was in his 5th grade classroom and was reading a National Geographic article about the high-speed Otis Elevonic 401 elevator systems at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta and was fascinated by them. He also noticed a VHS video camera sitting on the A/V cart in the room and at this point, due to seeing the camcorder at the same time of reading this article, he really wanted to get a camcorder and film these elevators since unlike just riding the elevators and having to leave them afterwords, he could cherish the ride and watch the experience again whenever he wanted to. This is how he came up with the idea of videotaping elevators for entertainment purposes. However, such cameras at the time were very expensive so he couldn't do so for several years. In fact, it wasn't until May of 1993 that it was made certain he would do so. As it turned out, Andrew's dad's secretary, Darlene Marlow, had a sister in Atlanta who recently bought a new handycam that she was willing to let Andrew use for videotaping the elevators. On June 5th, 1993, Darlene took Andrew on his coveted trip to Atlanta and he filmed the elevators at not only the Marriott Marquis, but also the hotels nearby it, the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency, since they also have scenic elevators. The first elevator he actually filmed, even before he went into the Marriott Marquis, was the outdoor scenic elevators at the Hilton right next to it, making that the first elevator in history know to be filmed for hobby-related purposes, despite the fact that he mainly went for the Marriott Marquis elevators. After this, he didn't film anymore elevators for a long while because he didn't have his own video camera yet.

First Self-Purchased Cameras, Discovery of Internet Photo Streaming, & Second Videography Return and Hiatus (2000-2005)

In October 2000, after 7 years of no photography, Andrew finally purchased his very own video camera, a VHS-C from JVC, and started making his own videos again. However, he only used this camera for about a month and only one video recorded with it has been digitalized and uploaded to YouTube, the Dover Traction Elevators at Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, TN. After that month, when Andrew finally saved up enough money, he got a Sony HandyCam, the CCD-TRV87, so much throughout his life, trips, etc. from 2000 to c. 2002-03, he used this camera to film more elevators as well as many other random videos, including the Westinghouse scenic elevator at the Westport Plaza in St. Louis, Missouri, which he also filmed with his Sony DSC-P20 in 2003. This was Andrew's first digital camera which he got in either 2002 or 2003 and although he took many pictures with it, especially for his Flickr account starting in December 2005, he took very few videos on it since the quality on its "movie" mode was very low and had no sound. Even though he still had his HandyCam, he didn't see a point in filming videos when he wasn't able to share them so he went on another video hiatus around 2002-2003. Despite this hiatus, he was still very active with his P20, especially for his Flickr account since he could share his pictures.

Discovery of YouTube, Return to Videography, & Popularization of Elevator Photography (2006-2008)

In August 2006, a good friend of his named Bill, seeing how much he loved flickr, introduced him to YouTube, so on August 22, 2006, he launched his YouTube account under the name "dieselducy," the nickname he came up with as a kid for his now-vintage Matchbox 24 Diesel Shunter toy. At this point, he got a new slightly higher quality digital camera, the Sony DSC-T1 and recorded his first video for YouTube, him spinning one of his BEST padlocks, which he uploaded on August 24, 2006. This marks Andrew's return to videography that continues on to this day. On October 19, 2006, Andrew posted his first elevator video on YouTube, the Westinghouse scenic elevator he filmed in 2003 with his audioless P20 at the Westport Plaza. This video was the first hobby-based elevator video to go up on YouTube (there were a few videos of elevator rides on the site before this one, but they weren't done exclusively as a passionate hobby). After that he mostly did random videos, similar to his photography habits with the P20 when he first got it. In 2007, he got his job at Norfolk Southern Railroad which he still works for as a train conductor today. In February 2007, when he was training for his job at Norfolk Southern in Atlanta, GA, he decided to revisit the 3 hotels he recorded his first elevators in back in 1993 and upload videos of them with his T1 to YouTube. This marks the first time in 14 years that he visited all 3 of these hotels and their elevators again . Just one day after uploading these then-new takes, he noticed that these videos already got 20 views and then in just a few months, they had hundreds of views and lots of comments as well. Just months later, another YouTube user named Musicfreakcc filmed and uploaded videos of these 3 elevators to his page in response to Andrew's videos as well as many other elevators throughout Atlanta. Due to the popularity of his elevator videos, Andrew started taking elevator photography more seriously, filming as many elevators he could find in his hometown and posting them to YouTube. As both of their videos grew in popularity, hundreds of other people started to pick up on the hobby, starting the massive growth of the elevator community that continues to this date, with approximately thousands of members globally in it today.

Popularization of Elevator Enthusiast Meet-Ups & DieselDucy Today/ElevaTOURS Era (2009-Present)

Starting in 2009, Andrew started filming elevators with other YouTube elevator filmers such as musicfreakcc, Gluse, patricknedz, etc. which popularized the idea of elevator enthusiasts meeting up and filming videos together. Andrew's channel kept growing as he continued to upload many videos of all different types of elevators as well as other types of videos such as hotel tours, dead mall tours, road trips, etc. and he's now become the center of the worldwide elevator community, reaching over 100 million views and 35,000 subscribers on YouTube; he has filmed more than 2,000 elevators throughout his lifetime.

Camera History:

  • Sony HandyCam (Unknown Model): June 1993 (Temporarily borrowed from Dad's Secretary's Sister)
  • Gameboy Camera: Never Used (Still Owns)
  • JVC VHS-C (Unknown Model): October - November 2000 (Given to Ex-Girlfriend)
  • Sony HandyCam CCD-TRV87: November 2000 - 2002 or 2003 (Still Owns)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P20: 2002 - 2003 (Still Owns)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P92 2003- 2006 (Still Owns)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T1: August 2006 - June 2009 (Still Owns)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T900: June 2009 - February 2011 (Still Owns)
  • Sony HandyCam HDR-CX110: February - April 2011 (Received from TheElevatorChannel, Still Owns)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX10: April 2011 - October 2014 (Still Owns, Uses as a back up camera)
  • Sony HandyCam HDR-PJ430V: October 2014 - August 2015 (Camera was ruined by water.)
  • Canon Powershot G2: February 2010 - present (He uses for still photography only)
  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX100V: January 2015 - present (Mainly uses for still photography, occasionally for videos)
  • Sony HandyCam HDR-PJ760V: August 2015 - present (Main video camera)
  • Garmin VIRB XE Action Camera: August 2015 - present (Uses for filming on his scooter)


  • He has had multiple media appearances[1]: In 2013, he was in the Roanoke Times, a local news paper in the city of Roanoke Virginia[2], on WSLS Daytime Blue Ridge,[3] and was even invited to film at the Smithsonian as part of a radio interview with WAMU[4]. Older appearances include an article in the Lynchburg News and Advance (2009)[5] as well as the Botetourt View, a column in the Roanoke Times. He was also featured in the first 5 minutes of Life in a Day (2011)[6] and Elevated: An Uplifting Community, a documentary by Matt Carl (2012)[7]. He was also interviewed by Wall Street Journal and Al Jazeera America when he went to New York in 2014. In December 2014 He was featured on WTVR, Richmond VA's CBS affiliate and in Jan 2015, there was a 3 page article done on him in Elevator World Magazine.
  • He has filmed elevators along with many other elevator filmers such as musicfreakcc, patricknedz, CaptainElevator42189, gluse, TJElevatorfan, Thewildeeper, Jimster586, TheElevatorChannel, and more.
  • He usually begins his video with his vintage Matchbox 24 Diesel Shunter toy (nicknamed DieselDucy) and a look at his Timex IronMan watch as an opening signature. He has two nicknamed dieselducy and dieselducy #1; the original dieselducy was lost in September 2011. One other time, in the Guggenheimer Nursing Home, he began with a 1920s Otis hall button panel.
  • His channel is nicknamed ElevaTOURS by Dieselducy.
  • In addition to elevators, he also films hotel tours, unboxing videos, road trips, fluorescent light fixtures, and his padlock collection. From 2007 to 2010, he filmed "The DieselDucy Show" series, the most viewed being the first episode "DieselDucy Rides an Elevator". Also in that time frame, he filmed trucking videos when he was a trucker; the most viewed one is of a truck running a red light in Lynchburg, Virginia. In 2012, he filmed food review videos after seeing those posted by CubsRule2040.
  • As late as 2011, DieselDucy hosted a website at that even had an online forum. Before that, he had a site on Yahoo's GeoCities. The website was quite out of date being last updated on Oct. 31, 2009. Since late 2011, the domain name just redirects to dieselducy's YouTube channel. In April 2014 he redid his website and it was made available to the public in May 26, 2014[13]. Since the reopen of the website, he registers at least 7 domains for redirecting to his current website[14].
  • Andrew prefers the 24-hour clock format and sets most of his clocks, including his watch, to that whenever possible.
  • He has an account in Skyscraper Simulator Forum called "diesel.ducy".
  • On December 9th, 2009, he had an incident filming the elevators at the Campbell Court where he was harassed and detained by Roanoke police for attempting to film the elevator there. As of January 24th, 2010, however, he gained permission to film here after the building management voided the trespassing order.
  • Although Andrew initially didn't see his hobby this way, he now considers his sharing of elevator videos and photos as an Autism Outreach. This is because the majority of elevator enthusiasts and people who enjoy his types of videos have some form of autism, so he sees his elevator photography as a way to reach out to such people and give them something to enjoy. Recently this has become his main reason for filming elevators, besides self-enjoyment.
  • Andrew also has an extensive collection of various elevator components. Originally he simply did it to have a collection. Now he is more into collecting and preserving historic elevator parts in an effort he calls "the elevaTOURS International Elevator Museum"[15] as he does welcome visitors by appointment.
  • In recent years, Andrew has considered ceasing to upload onto YouTube, due to the decline of support on his channel. Other, however, have continued to give him hope as an effort to see his channel to grow.


Notes and References

External links

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