Looking Back: Brownhoist crane during the construction of Lakeshore Rd in 1920

Brownhoist crane during the construction of Lakeshore Rd in 1920.

In Toronto, the “Roaring 20s” was a time of growth and expansion, in both population and in road infrastructure.

The city took on major projects with its own public works department, such as the construction of Lakeshore Road in 1920, as shown here.

This era saw many aggregate operations and construction sites utilize narrow gauge rail steam locomotives pulling side-dump cars to quickly move large amounts of granular.

The Brownhoist Company steam rail crane, pictured here, is equipped with a clam bucket and was kept busy, loading the rail-mounted hopper that was designed to allow the loading of two side-dump cars at once.

Preassembled narrow gauge rail sections can be seen in the foreground of the photo, which were deployed when required, as work progressed.

The Brown Hoisting Company started operations in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1880s and eventually merged with The Industrial Works Company, located in Bay City, Michigan, becoming Industrial Brownhoist Company.

Purchased by American Hoist & Derrick Corporation in the early 1960s, Brownhoist continued to manufacture diesel-powered heavy-duty rail-mounted cranes—up to 277 tonne capacity—until the plant closed in the 1980s.

Another classic steam rail crane was saved from the blast furnace and is currently on display by the Ontario Steam Heritage Museum located near Puslinch, Ontario, which is well worth a visit, as visitors can see working steam engines and their restoration process.

HCEA Canada’s ‘Last Blast’ Event is on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie, Ontario, where visitors can see more than 60 pieces of restored, vintage construction equipment in action.

HCEA Canada is a proud Heritage Partner of the Simcoe County Museum.

Please check HCEA Canada’s website for updates.