The History Of Cranes

Early Mesopotamia

Archeologists have found evidence of pulley and crane use in ancient Mesopotamia, which dates back to around 1500 B.C. They think the ancient machinery was used for drilling water from the ground and lifting or moving heavy containers for water storage.

Ancient Greece

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician that invented the compound pulley before he died in 212 B.C. After his death, Greeks used his pulley to build their temples.

Roman Construction Equipment

In construction, the Romans used Archimedes' compound pulley, and then winches or capstans. This lead to the development of the treadwheel crane, a machine that utilized compound pulleys, winches or capstans, and human labor. The first treadwheel crane was documented in 25 B.C. in use for a temple construction.

Medieval Industry

With the fall of Roman civilization, Roman machines fell into disuse and were forgotten. Finally, in 1244, in Utrecht, Netherlands, the Roman treadwheel was redesigned and put back to work. It made it to England in 1331 where it was utilized in harbors and the construction of cathedrals, castles, homes, and other large structures. Many of these cranes were left assembled and sitting in the attic, for repairing the structure should it need it at a later date.

Some of the largest cranes of Medieval Europe had to be built into stone towers because they were so large and their loads were so heavy, the cranes needed the added support.

Cranes in the Industrial Age

Treadwheel cranes dominated medieval construction until the beginning of the Industrial Age. Between the 1200's and the 1700's, cranes went through a series of changes, evolving from wooden structures to iron, steel, and cast iron. Finally. with the introduction of steam engines in the early 1700's, industrialists were able to create the first steam crane. These were used in construction and for loading and unloading trains.

The Modern Era

From there, the crane evolved to the hydraulic crane in the early 1840s, then to the combustion engine crane of the early 1900s. Today's cranes are used in a wide variety of applications, including construction, moving heavy loads. If you are in need of a crane, visit Ryan's Crane Service Inc in Steamboat Springs, CO.