Interesting Facts About Cranes

The crane is one very useful construction machine that can be found at every construction site, and can be used for different purposes. It is mainly used in the construction industry, but is also used in the manufacturing process of heavy or big equipment. The capability to raise and lower different kinds of loads and to move them horizontally, is the reason cranes are widely used machines. Although there are some similarities, cranes are quite different form hoists. The difference is that hoists can only lift very heavy objects, while cranes can lift heavy objects and move them horizontally and sideways. The following text is about some interesting facts about cranes – facts that you may have not known.


  • This machine got the name ‘crane‘ because it resembles, in shape and structure, the well-known tall long-legged and long-necked bird that has the same name – Crane. These birds are larger when compared with other birds and inhabit every continent except Antarctica and South America. They are also the tallest flying living birds in the world.
  • People, since ancient times, have used different kinds of machines or devices to lift very heavy loads or materials. The so-called “shaduf” was one of the earliest types of a crane. The shaduf was used more than 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt to move water. The shaduf is still used today in some rural areas in India and Egypt.
  • The very first human-made crane which was mainly used in the construction process for lifting heavy materials, was invented by the ancient Greeks. By studying the Greek architecture that dates back to 500 BC, the archaeologists from all around the world have found enough evidence to conclude that, for the construction of the ancient wonders, like the Greek Parthenon, a machine like cranes were used.
  • In the first century, human or animal force was mainly used for powering the crane in order to lift heavy materials or loads. These machines were mainly wooden and had long wooden beams or booms, which were connected to a rotating base. In the Middle Ages and later during the Renaissance, the treadwheel cranes came into action. During the Middle Ages, the harbor cranes were invented. Some of these cranes are still present today in some harbors around Europe like Copenhagen in Denmark, Gdansk in Poland and Trier in Germany. One important moment in the development of the crane during the Middle Ages was the invention of the horizontal arm, known as the “Jib”.
  • In the 19th century, when the steam engines were invented, people and animals were no longer used as a force to power cranes. The early years of the 20th century introduced the internal combustion engines, and these engines replaced the steam engines in cranes. Also, the steel became the main material from which cranes were constructed.
  • Many world known politicians started their careers as crane operators. Among those who started as crane operators were several politicians from United States in the legislative sector of the government, few British and Australian MP’s, and few well-known English authors. Perhaps the most famous crane operator was the free trade union activist, Anna Walentynowicz from Poland. The Solidarity Free Trade Union was founded thanks to her fight for better human rights and working conditions.