The original 19th-century elevator inside the Washington Monument took 20 minutes+ to rise the 500 feet to the observation deck. When that elevator was opened to the public, it was only opened to men, as it was considered "too dangerous" for women and children. This meant that women and children instead trudged up the 897 steps to the upper deck. I've walked those steps -- going down, I think that by the 1980s the National Park Service didn't even let people go up them -- and trust me, that's an effort.
The men, I told my fellow elevator riders? They'd have a party. Drinking and cigar-smoking.
"The 19th century? Really obnoxious," I said.
+ For the record, I'd heard that it was 50 minutes. Anyone hear any different?