Early Crane Evolution
More than 4000 years ago, early Egyptians created the very first recorded type of a crane. The original device was known as a shaduf and was first used to transport water. The crane was made out of a long pivoting beam that balanced on a vertical support. On one end a bucket was attached and on the other end of the beam, a heavy weight was connected.
Cranes which were built during the first century were powered by humans or by animals that were moving on a treadmill or a wheel. The crane consisted of a long wooden beam which was known as 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 that wrapped around it. This rope also had a hook which carried the weight and was connected to a pulley at the top of the boom.
In Europe, the huge cathedrals established in the Middle Ages were build utilizing cranes. Cranes were also utilized to unload and load ships in main ports. Over time, major advancements in crane design evolved. For instance, a horizontal boom was added to and was called the jib. This boom addition allowed cranes to have the ability to pivot, thus greatly increasing the range of motion for the machinery. After the 16th century, cranes had included 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 quickly once steam engines were developed. At the turn of the century, Internal combustion or IC engines and electric motors emerged. Cranes also became designed out of steel and cast iron rather than wood. The new designs proved longer lasting and more efficient. They can obviously run longer as well with their new power sources and therefore complete larger jobs in less time.