The hydraulic crane was invented in Newcastle by William Armstrong in about 1845 to help load coal into barges at the Quayside. It was a great success and the cranes were sold all over the world. The hydraulic crane helped the North East of England to grow and prosper, and Newcastle became one of the most important cities in the world as a result.
The cranes on the quayside were water powered. Using water in cylinders to create a force to move things is called ‘hydraulics’ and today a special oil called ‘hydraulic fluid’ is used instead of water.
All sorts of machines use hydraulics: car brakes; aeroplane wing and tail actuators; JCB diggers etc.