The Crane



At the northern end of the now abandoned railway station of Kowary in the south west of Poland presides this large, man powered lifting device. Once used to load and unload the small railroad wagons of the time, now only a dark silent silhouette. What many would call a pile of scrap metal is for me a piece of art. Just look at the castings. A combination of functionality and beauty. If you think it's simple, please go ahead and build one your self... Most of you would probably not even be capable to forge a single link to the chain. And, how could you ever dream of actually make a worm gear? Abandoned, yes, but not completely. Grease at bearings and gears tells that someone still looks after the old lady (does a crane have a gender??). It could be by nostalgic reasons. Perhaps it is still used every now and then to unload or load trucks? Or, perhaps it's simply good quality of the grease, though it doesn't look that old to me


Have a look at this swing post. It has a dual gear. First the worm gear on the axle driven by the lever, then a cogwheel gear this ensures both high torque and a good side lock.


The Hook has a set of springs to damp the snaps that occurs when the swift lock mechanism stoops the very rigid chain. A chain lifts the hook. A wire design would probably not suffer from this problem, but it wouldn't be as beautiful either.


The pressurised part of the crane arm is a set of conical steel tubes, riveted together. The thicker tubes on the middle of the arm show that the engineer knew about Euler or had similar experiences


The fact that the crane probably not is easily manoeuvred is indicated of the dual set of levers. Each side have a set of levers making it possible for two to four people to work together. The whole device is a powerful and light weight design. Have it perhaps been a mobile crane earlier, standing on a rail road wagon? The Russians claimed a huge amount of goods from Germany after the WWII and took everything that could be removed with a spanner... This migth be some of the returned stuff.


Here is my last picture from the crane at Kowary railroad station, southern Poland, formerly Smiedegebirge, Lower Silesia. I don't wear a hat but I lift my umbrella, this rainy day, to salute the designer and the craftsmen that accomplished this beauty.