24th April 1907

Titan becomes the world’s first electric crane

Titan is well named. The crane, at the former John Brown & Company shipyard at Clydebank, is 160 feet (50m) tall and was designed for use in fitting out battleships, and cruise ships including the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, QEII and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Royal opening

The crane cost just under £25,000 and took two years to build. It was put through its paces for the first time on 24 April 1907 and was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales (later George V and Queen Mary) as part of a tour of Scotland. The Morning Post reported on 26 April that they “inspected the generating station where Dr Inglis, convener of the workshops committee, requested his Royal Highness to set in motion the electrical machinery, which is the motive power at the new dock. The Prince of Wales readily complied and instantly the coal hoists and numerous cranes started to work…”

German target

It was of particular use in the run up to – and during – the Second World War when Navy ships were being constructed at the yard. Clydebank was an important centre in the British war effort, as a result of which it was subjected to two nights of intense German bombing in 1941. Although this badly damaged the greater portion of the city’s housing stock, killing many residents and making others homeless, Titan survived, and production was able to continue throughout the war.

Having fallen out of disuse, the crane was given protected status in the late 1980s, restored in the early 2000s and opened to the public as an attraction with a fenced viewing terrace on top of the cantilevered arm.



Other events that occured in April

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