Cairo Colors



Elevator Baskets

Elevator Basket Seller on his way to older building to sell brightly-woven baskets that are used as an elevator for goods, much like a ‘dumbwaiter’; however, these baskets are hoisted out of a window or over a balcony. The lady of the house calls out for supplies, lowers her basket and the grocer puts the goods inside, the price is known and payment lowered or put on account.

The brightly woven baskets are something new to the elevator basket market, usually the baskets are simple reed baskets as seen below (elevator baskets in action are photos taken in Shubra, but this is typical all over Egypt). Whatever the choice, using them saves energy (climbing up and down a lightless stairwell), convenient, and environmentally friendly!

Mohamed Tanamly offers a vivid explanation of the word, sabat (basket):

The correct word for the process of collecting/ lifting up small items with a dropped down baskets is named after the word for basket, for the process itself. People would use the word “Sabat”. While it refers to the basket itself, but by implication, is refer to the use of the basket to describe the process. It’s something akin, in English, to the work “trucking”.

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