Scotland’s ‘Titan’ gains Eiffel Tower status
20 August 2013: One of Scotland's most unusual
engineering landmarks, the Titan Crane at Clydebank, has today been
designated as an 'International Historic Civil and Mechanical
Engineering Landmark' by the American Society of Civil
Engineers - joining the likes of the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney
Harbour Bridge and Machu Picchu in Peru.
Hailed as an engineering triumph, the 106-year old crane is one
of only 13 of its kind left in the world. It is only the
fourteenth landmark in the UK to have received the ASCE accolade
and the first in UK to be endorsed by four leading international
engineering institutions - the American Society of Civil Engineers
(ASCE), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the American
Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Awarding the landmark designation, Andrew Herrmann, past
President of the ASCE, said: "The Titan Crane is a beacon among
cranes as it influenced the development of many similar cranes
across the globe. ASCE is honoured to join for the first time with
three other engineering societies to designate the Titan as an
international historic engineering landmark."
The Titan becomes the fifth internationally recognised
engineering landmark in Scotland taking its place alongside the
Forth Railway Bridge, the Forth & Clyde Canal, the
Craigellachie Bridge and the Caledonian Canal.
Constructed in 1907 at a cost of £24,600, the crane was designed
by "engineer extraordinaire" Adam Hunter (1869 - 1933), a Scottish
engineer from Glasgow based firm Sir William Arrol & Co and
member of both the ASCE and ICE.
The innovative design of the crane, which included a fixed
counterweight and electrically operated hoists, mounted on a
rotated beam, made it faster and more responsive than its steam
powered predecessors. On completion, the Titan was tested to lift
loads of up to 160 tons. Hunter's design later became the
most widely adopted in the world, influencing the erection of
cranes of this type worldwide.
The crane, now a unique visitor and education heritage centre on
the River Clyde, made a major contribution to Glasgow's
shipbuilding industry last century, helping to fit out some of the
world's biggest battleships and liners including the Queen Mary,
Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Elizabeth 2.
A plaque was unveiled at a special ceremony at the Crane today
(Tuesday 20th), to mark the designation.
Accepting the plaque on behalf of the Titan Crane, Lyn
Ryden, community board member of Clydebank Re-built and the Titan
Clydebank Trust, said: "Today's designation of the Titan Clydebank
as a world engineering landmark is a tremendous boost to our
educational work here in promoting the proud heritage of
shipbuilding and engineering on the Clyde.
"Thanks to the Titan's lifting power, John Browns shipyards were
able to build some of the biggest ships in the world last century.
The Titan is now sadly all that remains of the shipyards at
Clydebank but this award puts the Titan on the world engineering
map for today's visitors and future generations of young
The nomination for the award to the Titan was put forward by the
Institution of Civil Engineer's Panel for Historical Engineering
Works. ICE's President, Professor Barry Clarke, said: "This award
represents a significant achievement for what is a unique example
of the longstanding history of civil engineering excellence in
Scotland. Equally, it highlights the creativity and ingenuity of
the engineers who contributed to its construction - traits which
civil engineers all over the world display in their work to this
ASME President, Madiha El-Mehelmy Kotb added: "The American
Society of Mechanical Engineers is honoured to be among the
organisations recognising the historical significance of the Titan
Crane. The Titan is a mechanical as well as civil engineering
marvel, incorporating electric motors and aspects of structural
design that became models for future cranes."
The structure has previously been awarded IMechE's Engineering
Heritage Award in 2012 and its restoration in 2007 was recognised
by the Chicago Athenaeum Award for Architecture in 2008 and the
Civic Trust in 2009.
Since 2007, over 40,000 people, including many college and
school children, have visited the Titan, taking the lift to the top
and learning more about Clydebank's shipbuilding
heritage. The Titan is open to the public during the
summer months on Saturdays and Sundays or at any time by
arrangement for community and school groups.