New Floating Crane at Harland & Wolff Shipyard, Belfast

This crane was designed in 1910 at Deutsche Maschinenfabrik AG or Demag in Berlin. It was, at the time, the world's largest floating crane; cost Harland & Wolff £30,000, weighed 200 tons and could lift 250 tons at a time.


It was used in the fitting out of the Titanic. See it in action.


Date: Sometime in 1911


NLI Ref.: EAS_0526



  • Stuart PRO 4y

    I'm astonished such a structure could remain afloat without toppling over, especially when lifting !!
  • billh35 2y

    My grandfather was a crane driver at Belfast Harbour in 1910! He worked there all his life and is even shown on the census as such in 1911.
  • National Library of Ireland on The Commons PRO 2y

    billh35 Wonder if your grandfather ever worked this crane? This photo was taken in 1911...
  • slapper2010 2y

    This crane remained at Belfast until the late 1970's but was mainly obselete. It seemed to be just getting moved around as space permitted but was never used. I remember being on it around about 1978/1979 at the age of 15 or 16 with my dad and the most striking feature apart from its size was the most amazing spiral staircase to get into the upper echelons of the crane....I wonder whatever happened to it? Only in recent times I have discovered the crane was made specifically to service the Olympic class liners. Of course now in 2013 when I realise its significance, I can now appreciate in its connection to the workings of the shipyard and am so glad I can say I stood on a tangible part of the history of that era, especially as my great grandfather was chief timekeeper in the yard during the 1912 period.
  • National Library of Ireland on The Commons PRO 2y

    slapper2010 Thank you for that great comment. We're none of us all that great at appreciating historical significance at 15 or 16! And chief timekeeper? That must have been an incredibly important job in the shipyard at that time...

    Have replaced with a higher res image so you can see a bit more detail...
  • billh35 2y

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons My grandfather worked for Belfast Harbour Commissioners so I don't think he would have driven it but I am sure he had a good nose around it. He was working there in 1911 so he would have seen Titanic rise from the ground as she was built and then launched. The thing is though I remember as a child, there was a lot of shame around the shipyard for many many years and no one spoke of Titanic because they had built the "unsinkable" ship and it had sank! My late father was a Union Official on the Engineering Union and he said the same thing. The people who built Titanic were ashamed of what had happened to her. Her popularity now is only due to the wreck being discovered and the movie about her which changed how people viewed the whole disaster.
  • jamica1 PRO 2y

    Funny how historical memory works. In 1996 I asked a class of Canadian university students and about half of them had never heard of the Titanic. The next year of course they all knew.
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