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Off Topic: Hoisting Hooks On Amsterdam buildings

D107 Member Posts: 1,777
I've been told NYC has these too, but I've never noticed one. Given the relatively thin brick walls, I wonder what the max load would have been. Were these for people moving their belongings in? Can't see them supporting a piano. In Europe I have seen long electric or hydraulic ladders being used for deliveries, etc.


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,447
    Yes, those are for moving furniture. The stairs are too narrow. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,780
    What I was told by a tour guide is that they were required
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    It seems they would need to hang a big pulley on that hook with one rope tied around the furniture piece on the ground and with a few men on the ground pulling the other end of the thick rope. But how to attach the pulley to the hook? From the closest window?
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,447
    Exactly. Those hooks go back a very long time. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,447
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,338
    Hoist, piano, who's not remembering The Three Stooges.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,447
    What could possibly go wrong?
    Retired and loving it.
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    If only they’d asked Laurel and Hardy for help...
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,007
    That concept came to the "New World" of the Midwest where prairie grass (Hay) was cut, dried and stored for winter livestock feed.

    The large barns you might see had a huge hay loft to store the hay, tons of it.
    Most had a steel trolley beam from the rear of the loft to beyond the front. If you see an old barn like this it has the front end gable pitched/beaked out for the beam.

    There was a grapple claw hook that would drop down to the ground or wagon and close the claw around the hay, when it was pulled back up.
    Then when it come to the beam it would travel to the back of the barn along the beam track. At some point the claw would open and the hay drop to the loft floor. I believe there was a hanging rope to pull to dump the claw where you wanted it.
    There is some mechanism that would change the vertical lifting to travel along the track.
    (I have never examined one but it must be ingeniously simple as much of these old systems are.)
    A long rope and pulleys attached to a good team of horses did the work. Horses would learn their job and know when to back up for the next lift.
    No one uses these any more, I have only seen a video of the process. It is pretty slick how quick it works.
    In those days this was the only easy job of moving hay, it was almost like firewood, handled many times, but with a pitchfork.

    I would guess that somewhere out here there is a piano stored in a hay loft as the haying methods have changed and lofts have turned into attics for that type of thing.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,190
    Not just the midwest. A surprising number of barns in New England had such hoisting beams. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that unless the barn was built so you could bring the wagons in on the loft level, and the critters were on the level below, it was pretty normal.

    @JUGHNE describes the whole mechanism pretty accurately -- except to note that the track arrangement was a new-fangled invention coming in in the mid to late 1800s...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,007
    We are pretty flat land here. Never seen a 2nd floor drive in for a barn, other than movies.

    Did see a TV documentary on the compromise the Amish would make for using internal combustion engines.
    They would put up hay with old methods but might use a gas power conveyor to put small square hay bales up to the loft.
    IIRC, the theory was to not go completely with power machinery so that more manpower was needed to get the harvest in.
    There was only so much land and so many offspring.

    We have had some Amish buy farm land in the east part of NE.
    The came from Iowa as there was less farm ground available.
    They produce everything from cleaned frozen chickens (inspected BTY) to new custom built windows.
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    These days I think they do it more this way--seen this in Amsterdam and Paris.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,017
    use a block and tackle on the hook, not just a single pulley and get the mechanical advantage