Top 10 Construction Crane Facts

At Emerson Crane Hire we don’t just work with cranes, we eat, sleep and breathe them. Sound a little melodramatic? Maybe so, but each crane is a unique piece of machinery designed to do a specific job, and we take pride in knowing them inside out. We feel as though our customers could benefit from knowing construction crane facts that our knowledgeable team have accrued over their years within the industry.

Interested in finding out more about cranes? Want to know more facts about the cranes you’re operating? Luckily, we have the perfect solution. We’ve put together our favourite construction crane facts to help brighten your mood on these darker November days. If you are looking to find out more about cranes, read on:

Interesting Facts About Cranes

1. Cranes were invented by the Greeks around 500BC. As you would expect, in those days they were built of wood and powered originally by man and then animals, usually horses, donkeys or mules. Nonetheless, as crude as they were, the Greeks managed to use them with great success. Building some of the ancient world’s most impressive structures such as Greece’s famous Parthenon, said to show evidence of a crane’s use during its construction.

2. Over the centuries the crane was modernised and its design improved, but it wasn’t until the mediaeval period, between the 5th and 15th century, that a jib was added to the crane, giving it the ability to move a load both vertically and horizontally. Though neither the century nor the nationality of the jib’s inventor is documented, what is known is that during this period, cranes were first used in dockyards to load and unload boats.

3. Like the wheel, the crane caught on quickly, and the idea was adopted by the Romans, French and Italians. During the 14th/15th century, a crane was used to move the Vatican Obelisk in Rome, weighing 360 tonnes.

4. With the advent of steam power during the industrial revolution, it wasn’t long before steam power took over from animal and man power, to run the ever-improving crane. It was also in the 18th-19th centuries when crane construction moved away from wood in favour of iron and steel.

5. With cranes now being powered by petrol, diesel, or electric power, it was in the 1950’s that the first ‘mobile’ cranes were introduced. These were basically a small crane bolted onto the body of a flatbed truck.

self erecting cranes

6.  Nowadays there are some 20 different types of specialised cranes in operation around the world: from self-erecting cranes to small city cranes, tall tower cranes and jumbo mobile cranes. In total it is estimated there are over 200,000 cranes in operation worldwide. Over 120,000 work on construction sites and general heavy lifting, while 80,000+ operate in docks and harbours.

7. One of the World’s tallest cranes is the Liebherr type 357 HC-L, used in the construction of the Jeddah Tower. Taking six years to build from 2013 – 2019, the world’s tallest building is situated in Saudi Arabia. The crane can lift 18 tons at 44 metres per minute.

8. Operating any machinery that lifts equipment or materials above six feet can be classified as dangerous, and should only be undertaken by properly trained personnel. Of all construction site and dockside heavy lifting accidents every year, 89% are deemed to be operator error, with 11% mechanical failure. That’s why at Emerson’s all our cranes are rigorously maintained to LOLER specifications, and our crane operators are trained to the highest standards.

9. Finally, one of the most interesting tower crane facts is that not all of those film shots looking down on large crowds, battles, or car chases are filmed using helicopters or drones. A popular and cheaper way to obtain these shots is the use of specially adapted cranes. A popular piece of equipment in the film industry.

10. Here at Emerson we started out working with cranes over 25 years ago and have endeavoured to learn as many facts about cranes as we can. We are fully aware that these are fantastic pieces of equipment and we are passionate about keeping on top of the latest trends and trialling new equipment as and when it becomes available, to ensure we have a modern, reliable fleet to provide to our customers.

So there we have it, 10 construction crane facts you might or might not have known. We hope that the information about cranes we have provided you with throughout the course of this blog has enhanced your understanding and interest in cranes further. If we can be of any help with your heavy lifting requirements, please contact a member of our team on 020 8059 2540.