The Scottish Christmas Crane Truck

A 1967 Lambert Engineering Hibernian Hydrocon Crane Truck. Originally in yellow, the layers of paint tell just a few of the stories that this one must have gained through the years. Once a staple name across the British locomotive industry, the Glasweigan company was defunct by 1987 and only rusting remains such as this one can now be found littered across the country. Hydrocons were a great success for the post war rebuilding of Britain, and were extremely popular on building sites for the erection of steel work. Many of the growing crane hire companies had fleets of Hydrocons, replacing manual ex military lattice jib cranes from Coles Cranes and others.

The company was originally an engineering firm owned by Jack Lambert who sold it to George Jesner who designed the Hydrocon brand of crane, starting with a staff of one in 1949. The name was an amalgam of HYDRaulic CONstruction with an 'O' added in the middle. They remained undoubtedly Scottish in design, with the circular raised panels on the cab boasting a full colour transfer logo of a Highlander, complete with kilt and claymore, and the cab interiors trimmed in a red tartan. It was the first crane to be operated by just hydraulic drive rather than the mechanical clutch and break system previously used, and became the first user of fibreglass in the UK for cabs and the first crane to carry its own jib sections. Another innovative Hydrocon feature was that the operators cabin could tilt back to allow the operator sight of the end of the jib.

Although giving off slight 'texas chainsaw massacre' vibes at the roadside, what with it's rusty axe and suspicious containers of god knows what in the cabin, this is one of the last few left in Britain, used by a farmer to erect his locally infamous 'christmas star'. The crane not only allows the star to appear to float in the night sky during winter, but it also makes it high enough for him to extend the power cable above the trees to his farm! It's probably the most use this one will ever see, but if you ever fancy seeing one in action, apparently they're still common sight in Malta, probably left over and repurposed from ex-military use when the British forces left in the late 1970's.