The History of Cranes and Industrial World of Moving Heavy Things

Yellow construction mobile crane on a road and tower crane in a construction site.

The world of construction and industry are vast and preoccupied with building, transporting, and moving things. At Wisco Supply, Inc, we specialize in supplying the necessary supplies and materials for some of these tasks to be completed or to keep businesses in operation. We help your business with industrial systems like boiler systems, air systems, and more. Another important part of our product line includes hoists and cranes that allow the movement of materials and other supplies in an industrial and manufacturing facility. 

Fun Facts of Heavy Lifting — A Look at the Crane

  • A treadwheel offers a higher mechanical advantage than cranes
  • The crane is named after the bird, because of its structure 
  • The earliest crane machines were used to move water
  • Early cranes were powered by humans and not fossil fuels 

The Origins of Cranes and Lifting Heavy Things

From the early structures of civilizations, from the pyramids to stadiums in ancient Rome, human beings have found a way to transfer materials and move them from one place to another. At first, of course, there was a lot more muscle power and complex logistics at play. So, where did the invention of the crane come from? And how has it impacted human history? It’s not something most people think about on a daily basis, but the truth is that cranes and other overhead equipment have really altered the role of history. 

According to some archeological records, cranes were invented by the ancient Greeks. They were used during the construction of the Greek temple. The Romans took the technology and ran with it, as they were highly interested in building large structures, some of which we still see standing today. 

The concept of cranes, of course, is based on physics and increasing the output force. The main difference between the use of cranes in ancient times and today is that back then these systems were supported and powered by human power, a.k.a muscle. Today, machines do the heavy lifting, as innovation in machinery and  It’s quite a wonder to see the many structures that were built without mechanical cranes in history. For example, the majority of stones that make up the Egyptian pyramids have a weight of 2 to 3 tonnes each. Yet, historians have found that Egyptians made use of only the most rudimentary lifting devices. The temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak contains long rows of columns that measure 23 meters in height that support cross-beams at 60 to 70 tonnes each. 

Cranes in the Middle Ages

After the use of cranes by the Romans, this technology kind of fell into dust for many years. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that we begin to see the re-emerging of cranes. There is not a whole lot written about building techniques in the Middle Ages but paintings and artwork have revealed a lot about the kinds of building techniques that people used at that time. In the building of Gothic churches and cathedrals, cranes were likely very involved. In Britain’s Canterbury Cathedral, a treadwheel crane was used for a renovation project in the late twentieth century. 

Added Flexibility in Cranes — Added Possibility for Movement 

Today’s cranes, of course, are far more sophisticated, stable, and make use of technology and fossil fuels to power up. This allows for added flexibility in movement. Most modern cranes can turn their jib 360 degrees and move the load horizontally. Cranes today are also maneuvered from the ground. Moving a load horizontally is an important part of many commercial ventures, which need to carry heavy loads from one place to another in a horizontal direction. The Greek and Roman cranes had very limited horizontal ability. 

Today’s Mechanical Advantage — Lifting for Efficiency 

Any lifting device has a mechanical advantage. This is what allows for our machines—and what allowed early versions of these contraptions— to assist in lifting heavy objects. The mechanical advantage means the power that a machine multiplies as it goes from input to output. The compound pulley changed everything, as it allowed the output power to be increased by several. If you have five pulleys, the mechanical advantage is five times over. 

The World of Over Head Equipment 

As part of our industrial supplies, we supply businesses and warehouses with hoists and cranes that allow for the lifting and moving of heavy objects. Today’s machinery allows people to move something across long distances, or move it horizontally. 

Choose the Best for Your Industrial Supplies 

Wisco Supply, Inc is ready to provide you with high-quality industrial supplies. If you’re looking to move heavy things in your warehouse, factory, or another commercial facility, consider getting your hoist and crane supplies from us. Not only do we provide you what you need, but offer the highest customer service.