Last fall, we received some information from Ken St. Clair of 2594 Lafayette Avenue, Columbus, Indiana 47201. Ken owns two cranes he uses on his farm, and thinks others would be interested in reading about them.
The more unusual crane is the Link-Belt Speeder, Model LS-51, manufactured in 1952. This half-yard crane has a Waukesha gasoline engine; model number is 6BZ-266, engine number is 876699. The crane has fewer than 1500 working hours, and Ken has taken extraordinary care in maintaining it. The crane, which has been stored inside a warehouse since its purchase, has its original engine and all parts as installed in the factory. Even the exterior paint on the cab and boom are original. The Link-Belt weighs 28,000 pounds and has a 30-foot boom length. According to St. Clair, such small size ( cubic yard capacity) cranes are no longer manufactured in the United States or Canada. He says the smallest cable crane now manufactured is about twice the size of his Link-Belt.
The other crane in St. Clair's possession is an Insley yard crawler crane with a 35-foot boom. This crane is powered by a Buda standard 6 cylinder gasoline engine, and was manufactured in 1938 by the Insley Manufacturing Corporation of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Both cranes have been used on bridge and dam construction, general excavation and on farm drainage channels.
St. Clair says that he might give his cranes to a museum for preservation, or he might continue to use them for excavation or on farms. Any museum or individual who is interested in knowing more about the cranes may write him at the address above, or call him at 812-379-4205.