Early Crane Evolution
The very first recorded concept or type of a crane was utilized by the early Egyptians over 4000 years ago. This device was referred to as a shaduf and was utilized to transport water. The crane was made out of a pivoting long beam which balanced on a vertical support. On one end a heavy weight was connected and on the other end of the beam, a bucket was connected.
Cranes which were made during the first century were powered by animals or by humans that were moving on a wheel or a treadmill. The crane consisted of a wooden long beam which was called a boom. The boom was connected to a base which rotates. The treadmill or the wheel was a power-driven operation which had a drum with a rope which wrapped around it. This rope also had a hook that carried the weight and was attached to a pulley at the top of the boom.
Within Europe, the enormous cathedrals established during the Middle Ages were made utilizing cranes. Cranes were also utilized to unload and load ships in major ports. Over time, significant developments in crane design evolved. For example, a horizontal boom was added to and became known as the jib. This boom addition allowed cranes to have the ability to pivot, thus really increasing the range of motion for the machinery. Following the 16th century, cranes had included two treadmills on each side of a rotating housing that held the boom.
Even until the mid-19th century, cranes continued to depend on humans and animals for power. When steam engines were developed, this all rapidly changed. At the turn of the century, electric motors and internal combustion or IC engines emerged. Cranes also became designed out of steel and cast iron as opposed to wood. The new designs proved longer lasting and more efficient. They could obviously run longer too with their new power sources and thus complete larger tasks in less time.