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The Medieval Crane - 3
Prague

How did they lift those huge stones? I have always wondered how such things were possible in an age before motors, cranes, and steel. Now I've had a once-in-a-lifetime demonstration, here in the heart of the "black magic city".

Shown here is the replica medieval crane which is currently being used to replace the statues adorning the wall of the tower on the Old Town end of Charles Bridge. (The former statues were not originals but themselves copies, low-quality concrete versions erected by the commies in 1978. These new copies are more durable sandstone versions.) This crane was built using the old methods -- without power tools, without even screws or nails -- using old drawings as a guide (this, in itself, is utterly amazing to me, and as impressive as watching the machine at work).

The principle of the crane is simple -- there are two wheels in which people can stand and walk. There is a rope twisted around the axle which joins the two wheels. The force created by the people standing and turning the wheels creates enough power to lift objects approximately ten times heavier than the people themselves.

The statues being replaced here were actually light enough that the people up here (way, way up here) didn't even need to step inside the wheels -- they simply turned the wheels with their hands, while discussing which restaurant to go to for goulash.

Finally - how on earth did they get this crane up here? They brought it piece by piece, up the winding stairs, all the way to the top window inside the roof, and then lowered the pieces by rope, where they were assembled.

The crane will be perched on the tower until tomorrow. Then it will be disassembled and brought to a remote castle in Moravia, for more classical repairs. These new statues should last for at least another century -- though one hopes that they will get dirty rather soon, and blend into their surroundings.

Click here to buy this image as print or tshirt, in both Flat and Polar formats, from Cafe Press.

Copyright: Jeffrey Martin
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 6600x3300
Uploaded: 04/09/2008
Updated: 03/06/2014
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Tags: news
  • Anil B Erayil over 1 year ago
    Amazing one.... Sir.. what equipment did u use to make this pano.
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