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Weird and Lesser Known Facts About Cranes

Weird and Lesser Known Facts About Cranes

No matter where you live, numerous building projects are likely happening at any given time, from high-rise buildings to roads and shopping centers throughout suburbs and satellite towns. And an essential part of that work is cranes, so much so they have become a regular part of our cities' skylines and commutes.

8 Weird and Lesser Known Facts About Cranes and Their History

But it isn’t just construction; many jobs require the lifting and moving of heavy products and equipment from agriculture to manufacturing. Cranes are fascinatingly complex and valuable machines that have been helping humankind complete difficult and often complex tasks for millennia. As such, these machines have a rich and diverse history.

Whether you work in an industry that utilizes cranes, we thought to share some unique, weird, and lesser-known facts about cranes.

1. Cranes Have Ancient Roots

Cranes have been used since ancient times, spanning back at least over five millennia. The first known cranes were used primarily for agricultural purposes to help efficiently move large amounts of water for irrigation in ancient Mesopotamia. From there, like all good ideas, it spread through Ancient Egypt, and by the times of ancient Greece, cranes were a valuable and common tool in construction. 

While these ancient cranes were simple in design and engineering by modern standards, they were essential for building the ancient and contemporary world.

2. The Industrial Revolution Powered Cranes

For most of the history of cranes, they relied on water, animals, or even direct human energy to work. Throughout medieval times it was common to see small cranes with what were essentially giant hamster wheels for men to walk on to power their lifting capabilities. But with the advent of the industrial revolution, cranes saw an immediate increase in power.

By adopting steam, new more robust steel, manufactured parts, and eventually, the addition of combustion engines, the capabilities and utility of cranes increased exponentially. All of these advancements have allowed for the large variety of cranes today.

3. Cranes Are Everywhere

There are over 200,000 cranes in use around the world, a number that only increases every year. While over half of those are primarily used for construction, cranes used in the maritime industry to load and off-load shipping cargo are the next most extensive use of these machines.

4. Cranes Can Be Dangerous

Construction sites and industries that utilize heavy equipment can be dangerous places to work if safety isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind. While engineering and technology advancements have made these work zones safer, crane accidents are still one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities. 


The leading causes of injury and death during crane operations are electrocution or blunt force trauma from being hit or crushed with loads. The third direct cause is cranes tipping over.

5. Named for a Bird

There is a decent enough chance that the search that you found this article from also pulled up a good number of articles about birds as well. Cranes of both types are long, tall, and slender. As such, the machines picked up their own name due to this resemblance.

6. They Can Be Enormous

The world’s biggest crane, aptly nicknamed ‘Big Carl,’ is 820 ft tall and capable of lifting 5,000 tonnes. Manufactured in Belgium by Sarens and proves that you don’t need to limit lifting capacity for mobility. With 360 mobility and 6km of tracks, this behemoth of a crane can move nimbly around the worksite.

And ‘Big Carl’ isn’t alone; worldwide, there are numerous stationary land-based cranes in excess of 800ft tall.

7. Cranes Often Build Other Cranes

While cranes, especially overhead-style cranes, are often used in the manufacture of large machinery. You may not have considered that larger cranes often need assembly by other cranes when they arrive onsite. This has made the mobile hydraulic cranes very useful as they can help get a larger crane assembled, even if they aren’t up to the main task or are expected to live on a worksite.

8. Mobile Cranes Can Be Large

It comes as no surprise; we are partial to mobile cranes. And while ‘stationary’ or land-based cranes that are assembled on-site and then must be disassembled or moved with other equipment tend to have larger upper sizes, mobile cranes can pack a punch as well.

Swiss manufacturer Liebherr has a mobile telescopic crane that offers the longest telescopic crane boom in the world. With a maximum lifting capacity of 1,200 tonnes and a hoist height of 616 feet, the LTM 11200-9.1 is often used to assemble larger cranes, construct radio towers, and install wind power turbines.

Parker’s Crane Service

If you need a crane rental service in the Carolinas or the greater South East, look no further than Parker’s Crane. With over 40 years in the industry, we are the first choice for industrial, commercial, and residential construction or telecommunications projects. Based out of Concord, North Carolina, we are a local company that can provide convenience and expertise to your project.

Our Services

We have a fleet of hydraulic cranes available for rental with reach capabilities of nearly 320ft, enough to tackle telecommunications and construction projects of any size. Our equipment is meticulously selected and maintained to serve your project perfectly.

Trusting the lifting of an expert can make any project safer and more efficient.  If you face a complex lifting task, we have a Zero Accident Philosophy worked into the core of our business that can give you the peace of mind that lifts will be completed error-free. 

We will work with you on the project from pre-planning on-site assessments through the project's conclusion. You aren't just getting equipment when renting a crane through us. We provide the following benefits and services to our customers.

  • Site hazard analysis and daily risk assessments
  • A well-maintained fleet with transportation to the site
  • All of our operators, riggers, and signal persons are OSHA-qualified personnel
  • 24/7 Emergency service

Whether you only need us for a few hours or a month, contact us today to discuss your construction project. We provide free on-site quotes, and our dedicated team stands ready to help provide you with any assistance in selecting the crane and crew for your job.