Friday, February 3, 2017

Shepard Niles Hoists and Overhead Cranes

(Satellite of where it was. There are pictures below from when it still existed.)
Ben Bachle's answer to what the second number means in the following posting
Ben Bachle posted
The answer was that the second number in the name plate is the capacity of the auxiliary hoist. (The smaller yellow thing to the right of the bigger yellow thing. At first, I did not spot it.) Ben explained that the smaller hook was used for lighter loads because it was much faster and it was easier to manipulate because of space savings and less weight to shove around. He also commented "5 speeds for every motion. You can absolutely creep along with that thing, even with 25 tons on the hook. So smooth and steady." Below is a picture of the crane in operation. Note the operator rode in a cab under the crane.
Comment on above posting.
Ben Bachle posted
These pictures are from Ben's shop. Again I quote a comment from Ben: "When these cranes were in use in Montour Falls, they had three of them on the same rails. So, combined, they could pick 70 tons of weight.(2 cranes at 25 ton, and one at 20 ton)."

Shepard Niles was sold to KroneCranes in 2002. But they bought the "drawings, dies and tooling required to manufacture parts for the thousands of Shepard Niles cranes and hoists still in daily use." They did not care about the factory. Ben indicated that KroneCrane is in Europe.

Historical Marker Database

Before we describe the demolition of the factory buildings, let's start from the beginning.

The Shepard Foundry was started in 1880 and grew to specialize in hoists and overhead cranes.
John Abbott posted
They acquired the traveling crane department of Niles - Bement - Pond and became Shepard Niles.
George Lane "Montour Falls Shepard Niles Jan 54"    CC BY-NC-SA
They outgrew their 1950s complex and built three factory buildings and an office building, which has been sold.

Birds-Eye View
The Pennsylvania Railroad had a branch that ran north through Elmira, NY and between the two buildings on the right. The building on the right is the "Bridge Building" where they built the travelling cranes. Ben explained that there was an industrial spur that went down the middle of most of that building and came out of the small offshoot on the top left, or northwest portion, of the building.

In addition to travelling cranes, they made "hot metal hoists."

Ben took pictures of the Bridge Building before it was demolished. This initial posting of the demolition has most of the questions and answers in the comments. Of note:

Jeff Grimins They made overhead cranes.there bread & butter was hot metal carriers for steel mill's they also made smaller overheads but the profit margin was not as great..they tried getting in the airline industry by making telescoping platforms but could never get a foothold in that area..I left there in 87 the were still making replacement parts up to about 5 yrs ago ..they tore down the machine shop , bridge shop , electrical /parts dept & pattern shop a couple yrs ago. The office building was bought by a contacting firm for there headquarters.

Dennis DeBruler Jeff Grimins So when I see videos and pictures in steel mills of a big ladle being moved and then poured, a S-N could (probably?) be overhead manipulating the cables holding the ladle? I'm learning S-N built the hot-metal hoist that others used to build the overhead cranes.

Jeff Grimins Probably so..back in the heyday of steel in this country they we're the go to company for that equipment.

I've seen references to Shepard Niles cranes that could lift 100 tons.


  1. I own the plate in these photos. I hope the link works.

  2. We have two 9-ton Shephard Niles 40' bridge Cranes, Serial # 62689 & 62690, and an inventory of spare parts. Installed in 1944, our cranes were in active use until recently in our Gloucester MA block ice plant. The cranes are no longer in use and are to be removed. If interested, we can provide photographs or a list of the spare parts #'s / Bulletin #'s we have . categorized. Scott Memhard, Cape Pond Ice Company, 978-283-0174