Harland & Wolff Cranes - Samson and Goliath
- View as map
A prominent feature of the Belfast skyline is the Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath.
Although not officially classed as wonders of the world, the two massive cranes in Harland and Wolff Belfast, which serve one of the world’s largest Building Docks, are certainly masterpieces of engineering.
Between 1900 and 1930, Harland and Wolff was Belfast's biggest employer by a long way. Thousands of people worked in the ship yards and demand for ocean liners was huge.
Although ships are still built in Harland and Wolff today, the number of ships and people actually employed is much less than in the hay day of the early 20th century.
The Harland and Wolff shipyard was founded in 1862. It was founded by Edward James Harland and Gustav Wilhelm Wolff.
At its height, Harland and Wolff and the ship yard in Belfast became one of the biggest ship builders in the world.
Harland and Wolff own the world's largest dry dock, which is in Belfast.
Harland Wolff constructed over 70 ships for the White Star Line. The Titanic was the best known of these.
The cranes, known locally as Samson and Goliath, are of Krupp Ardelt design, modified to meet Harland and Wolff’s special requirements.
The first, Goliath, was completed in July 1969 and was largely constructed by Harland and Wolff within the company, whilst the second, Samson, was provided by Krupps in its entirety and was completed in May 1974. In most respects the cranes are identical but the second is some 10m higher than the first. Each has a span of 140m (460 ft) and a safe working load of 840 tonnes.
No 1 has a height from the rail tracks to the underside of the bridge girders of 70m (230 ft) and an overall height of 96m (316 ft).
No 2 has an overall height of 106m (348 ft) with a height of 80m (263 ft) from tracks to the underside of bridge girders.