Ipswich Transport Museum
Preserving the transport heritage of Ipswich since 1965, and now supported by the Friends of the Ipswich Transport Museum. The Ipswich Transport Museum is a Registered Charity No. 276626 and an Accredited Museum, number RD890.
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Rapier Mobile Crane
Rapier Mobile Crane
Date:1923
Registration:YN 154
Acquired by the Museum:1968
Current State:Unrestored
This exhibit is believed to be the first mobile crane built in the world. It was designed and built in 1923 by Ransomes & Rapier and registered YN 154. The idea was to build a simple self propelled crane that could unload goods wherever it was needed, rather than use the fixed cranes then in use. A petrol engine drives an electric generator which is used to supply power to motors for lifting, luffing or driving. There are no electric controls with speed of movement and lifting being dependent upon engine speed alone.

This crane was exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924, where it was bought by Pickfords, who used it to dismantle the exhibition and then in their Tower Bridge Road Depot, where the crane was nicknamed Pluto. At some point, it was moved to Pickfords Stratford Depot in London, although probably not until the mid 1960s.

In view of its historical significance it was returned to Rapiers in 1966, who in turn presented it to the Museum in 1968.