You see cranes everywhere and in various forms. Often you see them in several industries, lifting propane tanks, generators, steel erections etc. Sometimes you see them in residential areas lifting roofing materials, air conditioners and trees.
Yes, from construction to residential, from freight to salvaging forsaken ships at sea, cranes have become an integral part of our lives.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say, without cranes, the homes we live in, the offices we work in and the restaurants we eat in just wouldn’t be the same today!
It’s very interesting to trace the birthplace of such huge and important machinery.
Invention of Cranes
Let’s pay homage to the Greeks for their devotion and the Romans for their versatile perspectives behind inventing cranes. The word ‘devotion’ is used here with reference to the strong desire within Ancient Greeks to construct their temples in a more efficient way. Their efforts paved a way to the invention cranes.
According to a journal article published in The Journal of Hellenic Studies, archaeologists predict the construction of Greek sculptures in 6th Century B.C. They noticed some grooves and holes in some of the stone structures that seemed to be created by some kind of lifting device. These lifting devices are termed as cranes.
They were a simple winch and pulley hoist machines that replaced ramps as the main means of vertical motion. There is evidence for the usage of compound pulley cranes system in Mechanical Problems (Mech. 18, 853a32–853b13) credited to Aristotle which might have found its way towards the construction of more sophisticated versions of Greek Sculptures.
Ancient Greek Crane Model
(Image Courtesy: pinterest.com)
Cranes Empowered the Roman Empire
Impressed with the Greek talent, Romans adopted their crane technology and developed it further. Two Roman engineers, Vitruvius and Heron of Alexandria in their respective studies (De Architectura 10.2, 1–10) and (Mechanica3.2–5) reveal how Romans used Greco-Roman cranes for lifting techniques. These cranes were known as Trispastos (Three-pulley crane) and Pentaspastos (Five-pulley crane). Pentaspastos was used to lift the capital blocks of Trajan’s Column weighing 53.3 tons to a height of about 34m.
Greco-Roman Trispastos (“Three-pulley-crane”) Model
Greco-Roman Pentaspastos (“Five-pulley-crane”) Model
(Image Courtesy: wikipedia.com)
For an ever-expanding empire like Rome, cranes were used massively, travelling with their armies allowing quick assembly and deconstruction whenever required. Hence, cranes have a big share of the credit for the beautiful and historic Rome that is visible today.
Modern Cranes and Construction Industry
Cranes were redeveloped and enhanced in many ways from ancient periods until the industrial revolution. The powerful welcome of the industrial revolution set a platform for unique crane inventions. Hydraulic water powered crane was one such modern crane that was installed at harbors for loading cargo. Since then, the crane industry has witnessed many revolutionary crane discoveries which can be classified into industrial and domestic cranes for respective purposes.
Hydraulic Water Powered Crane
(Image Courtesy: lowtechmagazine.com)
Today, ‘Taisun’, the most powerful crane built in the world has the lifting capacity of 20,000 tonnes.
‘Taisun’ – The Most Powerful Crane
(Image Courtesy: wikipedia.com)
Need a Crane?
Delta Cranes is a leading crane service provider in North California with over 50 years of experience. Our crane machinery is tested at regular intervals and crane operators are CCO certified, well trained and professional. Customers get safe, efficient and cost-effective solutions to meet all their lifting needs. Call us for a quick quote.