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Short History of Overhead Cranes

You can trace the history of overhead cranes back to the mid 1800s. Old systems were rudimentary compared to today's standards. Mass-produced systems became wide spread around 1876, and can even be found in England. The German company, Ludwig Stuckenholz, made the 1830s crane. The 1840s led to the first mass-production of cranes, and this was also done in Germany. Throughout the years the machines kept improving. One of the improvements, which is not as standard anymore, is a Weston load break. The Weston system worked with friction disks that functioned as the breaks for the load shaft. The system had multiple parts, which allowed users of the crane to maintain control of the load at all time. If there is any failure between the frictional relationships it will not affect the control you have.

After the Weston system, which is still used, came the rope hoist. Since the first rope hoist, so much has changed. Some modern functions are fan cooling, magnetic oil filtration, and even high strength forged steel hooks. Before high strength forged steel hooks were used, people simply used rope. It wasn't until the 1850s that a heavy-duty winch mechanism was created. This was the first time cranes could haul serious weight. The Royal Arsenal of Woolwich used the new winches in order to lift ammunition, explosives, and weaponry. The Royal Arsenal also was one of the first organizations to use electric overhead cranes, but it became much more wide spread in the years to come. Before electricity, however, steam powered systems were used. You can find instances of these steam cranes when you look at how railroads were made in the mid 1800s.  1910 was the first year where eclectic motor hoists were created for mass consumption.

Today, cranes continue to be improved upon, and it is giving great power to the people who use them. New electrical systems allow for machines to be more reliable and stronger. Better built hooks allow for machines to carry substantially more weight. Older parts have been reconstructed to allow for easy cleaning of machines. One of the best things about the future of cranes is the customization that can now be made. Industries have never been able get systems built specifically for their industry until recently. It is truly amazing to think about where cranes have come from and what they do now.

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