Origin stories: why is a crane called a crane? 

Have you ever watched a bird of prey hover? They are pretty majestic. It always stops me in my tracks. 

Now why on earth am I talking about birds in a blog about heavy lifting equipment? Well, as you have probably guessed, it’s all in the name “crane”.

Here at Fortis Heavy Lift Group, we specialise in providing heavy lifting equipment or, as they are more commonly known – cranes! 

As we are about to find out, there is an interesting, and bird-related, origin to the name of the mechanical marvels we provide every day. 

Why is a crane called a crane? 

The term “crane” is derived from the long-necked bird called the “crane”. The crane bird is known for its graceful and long neck, which resembles the boom (or jib) of a crane used in lifting heavy objects.

The connection between the bird and the lifting equipment likely comes from the way cranes were historically designed. 

Early crane designs often featured a long, projecting arm or boom with a hook or similar lifting device at the end. This design resembled the extended neck of a crane bird as it stretched out to capture prey or forage for food.

Over time, this bird-inspired term became widely adopted in the construction and material handling industry to refer to machines and devices used for lifting and moving heavy objects. 

Crane: grace and precision

The crane bird’s reputation for grace and precision in its movements may have contributed to the choice of this name for the machinery, as cranes are known for their precise and controlled lifting capabilities. 

Have you ever seen a video of a crane catching a fish? Poetry in motion. Much like watching a luffing jib tower crane in action!

So, in essence, a crane is called a “crane” because its design, with a long, projecting arm, is reminiscent of the extended neck of a crane bird. This is an example of how the natural world has influenced human language and technology throughout history, it’s positively Shakespearean as well! 

If you are interested in our range of cranes for hire, view our impressive range of cranes here and get in touch for more information and a free quotation today.

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