Lifting Through The Ages: A Brief History Of Cranes
Updated: May 1
Modern cranes have become a daily staple of the construction industry, where they are available in a variety of sizes in order to serve a range of purposes. Cranes can be fixed or mobile, with different models or tires to adapt the vehicle to an array of terrains.
Crane technology as we know it is a relatively modern invention. But today's cranes have a long history that stretches back to ancient times, where this highly versatile tool has evolved over thousands of years.
Read on for a brief insight into the fascinating history of cranes.
Cranes In Antiquity
The first cranes originated as simple pulley systems where wheels and ropes were used to manoeuver building materials. This method is thought to have originated from around 1500 BC in Mesopotamia, now modern day Iraq.
Roman Empire Cranes
Roman innovation led to a progression in crane technology, where winches and capstans were incorporated into the original design, furthered by new methods of maximising wheel power. The Romans adopted these methods from the Ancient Greeks, and utilised them to move heavy blocks and other materials, allowing for the assembly of increasingly large structures.
Cranes In The Middle Ages
The treadwheel was invented in the 1200s, which transformed crane technology by using people or animals to power a large wheel. The machine was initially utilised for ship construction, later being integrated more widely into other building practices. This allowed for materials to be transported and lifted safely and with increased ease, leading to the construction of intricate cathedrals.
Early Modern Cranes
This period saw the development of a lifting tower machine similar to those found in Ancient Rome, utilised to relocate the Vatican’s obelisk in the 1500s. Around this time, cranes were beginning to be used in domestic environments, where a chimney crane allowed for pots and pans to be suspended over a fireplace.
Impact Of The Industrial Revolution
The industrial revolution brought huge changes to construction methods, where the implementation of steam powered machinery led the way for today’s hydraulic vehicles. This period also saw the introduction of iron models, which were more durable than wooden alternatives and could lift heavy materials to greater heights.
The modern construction industry has seen an increase in the efficiency of hydraulic systems, where cranes now provide an irreplaceable tool for most construction projects. New models can also be truck mounted for mobility, as well as being available in a range of compact sizes and shapes.
Hire Your Crane From Macsalvors
Here at Macsalvors, we offer a range of plant hire services to suit a wide range of construction projects. We can provide you with all terrain cranes, spider and compact models, as well as other mobile crane hire opportunities. Our reliable 24 hour service includes emergency breakdown cover, where we also provide detailed handling plans for all our clients.