Historic Images of Sri Lanka

Steam crane unloading coal at Colombo Harbor

steam crane unloading coal at Colombo Harbor

medium sized steam crane unloading coal at Colombo Harbor-around 1900 #IMG640

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The rail mounted or stationary steam crane (actually a medium sized crane) were used for unloading coastal craft or barges, employed a coaling bucket as shown above. Photographed before World War One, by the 1920s such cranes often had a simple wooden or corrugated iron ‘body’ over the boiler and gearing.

Cranes equipped with a coaling tub for unloading coal from smaller vessels were common right into the 1940s. Berths handling purpose built colliers often had grabs by the time of the First World War but the cost of manpower remained comparable with the cost of maintaining the grabs until the outbreak of World War Two. Since the war specialised and rather larger bulk mineral carriers have replaced the smaller general cargo ships on this traffic and quays devoted purely to coal traffic have become the norm.

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