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Five fun facts about cranes

Where is the highest crane on earth? What are some of the most unusual ways that cranes have been used?

These are just some of the burning questions that crane workers out there - or as we like to call them, friends in high places - may have wondered at some time.

We have come up with our top fun facts about cranes with the help of our specialist Commercial finance team, who know only too well about cranes as the team has decades of experience in supporting construction firms to finance equipment and is a regular at the annual Vertikal Days trade show.

Where did the name cherry picker come from?

Given the name, you may have guessed that there is a link to picking fruit. It was during the summer of 1944 when American creator Jay M Eitel was struggling to reach cherries and frustrated with moving a ladder around that he came up with a design for what we now know as the cherry picker.

He spent his spare time building a highly manoeuvrable, telescoping, steel structure mounted on a truck chassis with a simple one-lever control and went on to start his own company, Telsta Corporation, after World War Two was over.

Taken on board by Bell Telephone Company, the cherry-picker enabled work on telephone cables from a moving truck and played a major part in building the Telecom network across the USA.

Innovation and design ran in Eitel’s family as Jay’s uncle, Col E J Hall, designed the famous "Liberty" engine used by the Americans and their Allies in World War I.

What is the world’s largest crane?

Although there are many factors that play a part when it comes to classifying the biggest or tallest crane, the SGC 250 is billed by Sarens as "the largest in its fleet and the mightiest in the world in both size and capacity".

With a maximum boom length of 160 metres, this monster of a crane has a maximum load moment of 250,000 tonne-metres and can lift 5,000 tonnes.

It’s a big crane used for big projects and has been drafted in to build the nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

What’s the most bizarre use for a crane?

Some of you will remember magician David Blaine’s crazy stunt in London when he imprisoned himself in a suspended plexiglass box for 44 days. This was achieved thanks to the box being suspended by a crane next to the iconic Tower Bridge.

An estimated 10,000 people gathered on 19 October 2003 to see the crane slowly lower the American illusionist to the ground and gently tip him out of the box into the arms of waiting fans.

Where’s the highest place you can be thrown from a crane in the UK (for sport)?

The UK's highest bungee jump is from a crane at a staggering 300ft.

Adrenaline junkies travel to either Bray Lake near Windsor or Tatton Park in Cheshire to be dropped from a great height according to the UK Bungee Club.

What’s the most innovative way a crane is being used?

With more and more expectations for dining with a difference, there’s now the chance to eat in a sky-high restaurant in London – that is hanging 100ft above the city from a crane.

The Dinner in the Sky and Events in the Sky are just some of the companies holding these types of experiences at “high table”, offering a hair-raising meal above the tourist spots in London.

One of the crane hire firms we deal with, Emerson Crane Hire, based in Dagenham, has supplied a crane for a dinner in the sky in central London as one of its alternative hires. It has also been involved in using a crane for an event company to move huge art sculptures into the middle of The Serpentine lake at Hyde Park.


If you are looking to fund a crane, access platform, telehandler and associated lifting equipment needed to grow your business, take a look at our range of specialist construction finance solutions.


Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551