Medieval crane – walking and lifting weights at the same time

Posted by jerry on April 23rd, 2008 — Posted in Journal

Even a 50kg weakling can lift 500kg with this device – a new fitness craze? No, more a 14th Century crane for lifting building materials up the wall of a cathedral or castle.

In Prague, a team of fifteen have come together and built a replica 14th century tread-mill crane using traditional techniques and tools. And they are using it to reconstruct a real castle – Tocnik Castle.

 Photo: Martin Dostoupil,
Photo: Martin Dostoupil,

While it looks cumbersome the whole thing can be dismantled and rebuilt – like a Lego construction – and in this way it can be moved from one location to another around the building site. This one is actually a double treadmill version capable of lifting one tonne of material at a time. That’s pretty impressive for a wooden structure.

You can read the whole story or listen to the radio broadcast at the link above.



Comment by Felicity

You can’t beat the stuff from days gone by that were made to work regardless…

Posted on April 24, 2008 at 2:42 am

Comment by Richard DuBrul

Would you have – or could you direct me to – an image of the tool the “crow”, wood haft with iron “bill”, the tip chaped like a crow’s beak, hence its name? Thanks.

Posted on August 9, 2009 at 1:26 am

Comment by jerry

The Bec de Corbin – literally “Beak of the Crow” – is a special type of two-handed pole-hammer developed during the late 15th century and used into the 16th century. It was used mainly against armor. The “hammer” portion of the weapon was composed of multiple small spikes (usually four) – also known as a multi-pronged lucerne – on one side, and a long, beak-like spike on the other side.

It is also known as a bec de faucon – beak of the hawk (or falcon).

There is a picture of one at:


Posted on August 9, 2009 at 8:45 am

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