The Great Crane: What it Was and How it Came to Be


It’s difficult to imagine a construction project without some form of a crane being used. The crane has become not only a tool for workers but, in many ways, a substitution for heavy and hard labour. From lifting and transporting heavy equipment to salvaging sinking ships, the crane has many feats under its belt. Thanks to its function, time on construction projects is saved, and potential injuries and even lives are spared. But they aren’t as modern as one may think. In fact, they were around since ancient times. How do you thin the Greek temples were built?


During ancient Greek times, cranes were used to lift iron and tongs when construction the infamous holes in Greek temples. Since there was no machinery and automation to move the crane, a system of winch and pulley was used. Manpower and donkeys also assisted in the process. Materials were moved much faster and much more efficiently. Precise dates are unfortunately not sufficiently recorded, but it is known that actual construction teams would be hired to perform tasks with the crane. Whether they have sufficient legal representation, such as a crane accident attorney, in case of injury, is unknown but highly improbable. 


The Romans took great note of these Greek canes and decided to use them for their own manifold construction projects all over the empire, not to mention the heavy-ridden work being done on the capital itself. They tweaked some parts and added versions like the single-beam jib, which allowed space for a block that had three pulleys, and heavier cranes with five pulleys, making it easier to exert for workers without applying too much effort. The great preservation of Roman architecture allows scholars and historians to figure out exactly how much impact cranes had in constructing many of these buildings. It is known that some structures, such as the temple of Jupiter at Baalbak, feature blocks that weigh as much as 60 tons each, all raised to 20 meters above the ground. 


After the fall of the Roman Empire, the middle ages used cranes specifically for war and harbour cranes for the sea. They also used them for mining and took advantage of their lifting capabilities, powered by windlasses. Today, cranes are used for a variety of functions and never fail to disappoint. As they become more technology-powered and enter a demanding industry of constant building growth, cranes continue to make an impact.

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