Early Crane Evolution
More than 4000 years ago, early Egyptians created the very first recorded version of a crane. The original apparatus was known as a shaduf and was initially used to transport water. The crane was made out of a long pivoting 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 attached.
Cranes that were built in the first century were powered by animals or by humans that were moving on a treadmill or a wheel. The crane consisted of a wooden long beam which was called a boom. The boom was connected to a base that rotates. The wheel or the treadmill was a power-driven operation that had a drum with a rope which wrapped around it. This rope additionally had a hook that was attached to a pulley at the top of the boom and lifted the weight.
Cranes were used extensively throughout the Middle Ages to make the enormous cathedrals in Europe. These devices were also utilized to load and unload ships in key ports. Over time, major developments in crane design evolved. For example, a horizontal boom was added to and became known as the jib. This boom addition enabled cranes to have the ability to pivot, thus greatly increasing the range of motion for the machine. Following the 16th century, cranes had incorporated two treadmills on each side of a rotating housing which held the boom.
Cranes utilized humans and animals for power until the mid-19th century. This all changes rapidly when steam engines were developed. At the turn of the century, Internal combustion or IC engines and electric motors emerged. In addition, cranes became designed out of cast iron and steel as opposed to wood. The new designs proved longer lasting and more efficient. They can obviously run longer too with their new power sources and thus complete larger jobs in less time.