Historical Perspectives

17 February 2022

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For those of you into your tower crane history, we have a real treat for you this month. Contributor Stuart Anderson's article on page 31 provides great insight into how the tower crane market has developed since its start and, crucially, how it has changed over the last 20 years.

The transition from the tower crane export market being the preserve of European manufacturers to now being dominated by Chinese manufacturers might have started under the radar but the figures are undeniable. Anderson's 'tower crane exports by country' chart makes very interesting reading, underscoring just how strong the Chinese tower crane export market now is and how, relatively, quickly this has occurred.

Viewing events through a historical lens, as Anderson has done, can help us analyse and make sense of the modern world. I experienced this myself whilst looking for a suitable image for our 'from the archive' series celebrating our forthcoming golden anniversary this November.

We selected the April 1895 issue, which was the preview issue for that year's Expomat show. The magazine was edited by Graham Brent (who is now Chief Executive Officer at NCCCO Foundation in the USA) and in the issue he wrote, "some may be disappointed to note that some famous names are absent [from the Expomat show] this time around. This in part, no doubt, reflects a continued effort to reduce costs under difficult economic conditions."

While trade shows will always be affected by the state of international business what is striking is that these words could have been written today, with a number of large international companies indicating they will no longer participate in forthcoming in-person trade shows. I wonder what those working in the crane industry around the year 2050 will think when they look back at the last two years and how they will judge the impact of the pandemic on the industry?

Christian Shelton, Editor
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