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Also, the practice of erecting large monolithic columns was practically abandoned in favour of using several column drums.

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Some lifting machines do not strictly fit the above definition of a crane, but are generally known as cranes, such as stacker cranes and loader cranes.

The archaeological record shows that no later than c.515 BC distinctive cuttings for both lifting tongs and lewis irons begin to appear on stone blocks of Greek temples.

The polyspastos, when worked by four men at both sides of the winch, could readily lift 3,000 kg (3 ropes x 5 pulleys x 4 men x 50 kg = 3,000 kg).

If the winch was replaced by a treadwheel, the maximum load could be doubled to 6,000 kg at only half the crew, since the treadwheel possesses a much bigger mechanical advantage due to its larger diameter.

Since these holes point at the use of a lifting device, and since they are to be found either above the center of gravity of the block, or in pairs equidistant from a point over the center of gravity, they are regarded by archaeologists as the positive evidence required for the existence of the crane.

The introduction of the winch and pulley hoist soon lead to a widespread replacement of ramps as the main means of vertical motion.For the next 200 years, Greek building sites witnessed a sharp reduction in the weights handled, as the new lifting technique made the use of several smaller stones more practical than fewer larger ones.In contrast to the archaic period with its tendency to ever-increasing block sizes, Greek temples of the classical age like the Parthenon invariably featured stone blocks weighing less than 15-20 metric tons.The first 'mechanical' power was provided by steam engines, the earliest steam crane being introduced in the 18th or 19th century, with many remaining in use well into the late 20th century.Modern cranes usually use internal combustion engines or electric motors and hydraulic systems to provide a much greater lifting capability than was previously possible, although manual cranes are still utilized where the provision of power would be uneconomic.The Romans adopted the Greek crane and developed it further.