Clydebank’s cantilever crane: The world’s first electrically-powered cantilever crane to receive honour
The world’s first electrically-powered cantilever crane, which stands in Clydebank near Glasgow, is to receive the same heritage honour as that held by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The shipyard at Clydebank was created in 1871 after the company James & George Thomson moved from the Graving Docks in Govan. John Brown & Company purchased the yard in 1899, and in 1905, a £24,600 order for the crane was placed with Dalmarnock based engineering company Sir William Arrol & Co. Titan was completed two years later in 1907. It was constructed by the Scottish engineer Adam Hunter, who was working as Chief Engineer for Arrol & Co., having served his apprenticeship on the construction of the Forth Bridge. Stothert & Pitt of Bath, England, fabricated and installed most of the machinery for the Titan, including electric motors built by Lancashire Dynamo and Motor Co.
Titan is 49 metres (161 ft) high, weighs about 800 tonnes (790 long tons; 880 short tons) and sits on four concrete piles sunk to a depth of 23 metres (75 ft) deep. The arms of the cantilever are 45.7 metres (150 ft) and 27.4 metres (90 ft) long. The tower is 12 metres (39 ft) square, and its centre sits just 10.7 metres (35 ft) from the edge of the quay.
The crane was awarded the 2012 Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and described as “a magnificent example of mechanical engineering, which forms an integral part of the local landscape”.Titan was designated as an International Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2013, the fifth such award given to a Scottish structure.
For the restoration of the structure, recognition was accorded by Chicago Athenaeum Award for Architecture in 2008 and by the Civic Trust in 2009