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Hoisting Stone in Vermont Marble Quarry Postcard

Hoisting Stone



The methods and technology for hoisting stone blocks remained relatively unchanged from about 1100 AD through the mid-1700’s. From the 1750’s through 1808 two British lighthouse civil engineers made significant improvements. Unfortunately, their work remained in obscurity. In 1825 Almoran Holmes developed the modern quarry derrick for the consutrction of the Bunker Hill Monument. It was rapidly adopted in both the U.S. and great Britain. A detailed discussion of hoisting technology can be found in the Art of Splitting Stone (2nd Edition). This webpage presents additional images not available at the time of publication.


Types of Stone Quarries

Stone Quarry Tools

Quarry Tool Gallery

Stone Splitting Methods

Hoisting Stone

Transporting Stone

Sawing Stone

Osgood Graphite Mine

Historic Articles on Quarrying


A typical Quarry Derrick rigged to pulled blocks up an inclined plane.
Source: Rock Excavation: Methods and Cost, By Halbert P. Gillette (New York: M. C. Clark, 1904)

Booms were made of a stout pole with a secondary pole attached at the base that could be swung around and raised and lowered. It was the secondary pole that moved the stone.  To pick up large blocks of stone quarriers used dog holes. Dog holes are small indentations on each end of the block. A cable with hooks at the each end of a line was placed in the holes, the cable was drawn up tight and thus was able to lift the block.

Quarry Dog Hole for  Lifting Blocks      Quarry Chain & Hooks Lifting System

(left) A “dog hole” at one end of a block. They are generally about 3 inches in diameter and  inch in depth.
(Right)This illustration shows a typical use of a dog hole system. Two hooks on either end are placed in the dog holes and the cable is tightened by lifting it.

1829 Stone Quarries Craigleith Scotland

The Stone Quarries, Craigleith, near, Edinburgh, from where the New Town was built.
Published Jan. 31, 1929 by Jones & Co. of the Muses. Finsbury Square London.

Source: "Modern Athens: Displayed in a series of views: or Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century....from original drawings by Mr. Thomas H Shepherd"


1829 Craigleith Scotland Close-up of Jib Cranes

This is a close-up from the 1829 print above. These one several different variations on the Jib Crane design. A jib crane is essentially a crane with a fixed length horizontal boom or beam. It rotates around the central mast pole. (The workmen are either holding crowbars or jumper drills or mix of both.)

Bolton Connecticut Stone Quarry

Source: Connecticut Historical Collections by John Warner Barber circa 1840

This show another basic variation of the Jib Crane.




Copyright (c) 2005-2008, James E. Gage & Mary E. Gage. All Rights Reserved.