slote or sloat

Definition

Theater

  • In the 19th-century British theater, a mechanical arrangementof weights and rails used to raise or lower actors or pieces of scenery,often through a trap. The slote was invented in the early1800s and had become standard equipment in London theaters by themiddle of the century. In 1853 a theater article in Punch mentionedthe "workings of various mysterious engines of machinery, called'sloats' and 'scruto-pieces'". Henry Irving described in 1887how a slote once struck him on the head instead of carrying him upinto the flies. The usual US term is hoist.
http://www.dictionarycentral.com/definition/slote-or-sloat.html