Designed by Adam Hunter and Sir William Arrol & Co Ltd, and built in in Clydebank, Scotland in 1907, the Titan Crane was designed to lift boilers and engines at the John Brown & Company shipyard. During construction, small sub-assemblies of the cantilever, weighing just a few tons each, were lifted by means of hand-powered cranes and riveted in place—first with temporary bolts, and then permanently after the alignment was adjusted. A steam-powered crane lifted the heavier sections of machinery.
At 164 feet tall (50m), the Titan Crane's innovative design included two hoists—the main one able to lift very heavy loads of up to 150 tons, and a 30-ton auxiliary hoist to ensure that the crane remained useful for lifting lighter loads, as the very heavy lifts were somewhat infrequent. This lifting capacity was increased to 200 tons in 1938 to assist with the war effort.
The Titan Crane's fixed counterweight and electrically operated hoists are mounted on a rotating beam, allowing the crane to be faster and more responsive than its steam-powered predecessors. Its sheer lifting capacity led to the success of John Brown's world-leading shipyard, helping John Brown's win many contracts that led to the building of the famously huge passenger liners and battleships.
Despite being a major target during World War II, the Titan Crane and shipyard survived the devastating Clydebank Blitz in March 1941. Today, it is the earliest survivor of its type. See ASME website for more information