Ducks, cranes and other aquatic birds abound in the delta.
CRANES (so called from the resemblance to the long neck of the bird, cf.
Machines used for lifting only are not called cranes, but winches, lifts or hoists, while the term elevator or conveyor is commonly given to appliances which continuously, not in separate loads, move materials like grain or coal in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal direction.
The use of cranes is of great antiquity, but it is only since the great industrial development of the 19th century, and the introduction of other motive powers than hand labour, that the crane has acquired the important and indispensable position it now occupies.
In all places where finished goods are handled, or manufactured goods are made, cranes of various forms are in universal use.
Jib cranes can be subdivided into fixed cranes and portable cranes; in the former the central post or pivot is firmly fixed in a permanent position, while in the latter the whole crane is mounted on wheels, so that it may be transported from place to place.
The different kinds of motive power used to actuate cranes - manual, steam, hydraulic, electric - give a further classification.
It is at once evident that hand power is only suitable for cranes of moderate power, or in cases where heavy loads have to be lifted only very occasionally.
Steam is an extremely useful motive power for all cranes that are not worked off a central power station.
Where, however, there are a number of cranes all belonging to the same installation, and these are placed so as to be conveniently worked from a central power station, and where the work is rapid, heavy and continuous, as is the case at large ports, docks and railway or other warehouses, experience has shown that it is best to produce the power in a generating station and distribute it to the cranes.
Down to the closing decades of the 19th century hydraulic power was practically the only system available for working cranes from a power station.
Electricity as a motive power for cranes is of more recent introduction.
For dock-side jib cranes the use of electric power is making rapid strides.
For overhead travellers in workshops, and for most of the cranes which fall into our second class, electricity as a motive power has already displaced nearly every other method.
Cranes driven by shafting, or by mechanical power, have been largely superseded by electric cranes, principally on account of the much greater economy of transmission.
Sometimes, especially in the case of overhead travelling cranes for very heavy loads, the chain is a special pitch chain, formed of flat links pinned together, and the barrel is reduced to a wheel provided with teeth, or " sprockets," which engage in the links.
Cranes fitted with rotating hydraulic engines may be considered as coming under the third category.
Barrel cranes are usually fitted with band brakes, consisting of a brake rim with a friction band placed round it, the band being tightened as required.
An excellent brake for very large cranes is Matthew's hydraulic brake, in which water is passed from end to end of cylinders fitted with reciprocating pistons, cooling jackets being provided.
In electric cranes a useful method is to arrange the connexions so that the lifting motor acts as a dynamo, and, driven by the energy of the falling load, generates a current which is converted into heat by being passed through resistances.
In the second, or " braking off " method, the brake is automatically applied by a spring or weight, and is released either mechanically or, in the case of electric cranes, by the pull of a solenoid or magnet which is energized by the current passing through the motor.
The first method is in general use for steam cranes; it allows for a far greater range of power in the brake, but is not automatic, as is the second.
This method of working is very suitable for electric dock-side cranes of capacities up to about 5 or 7 tons, and for overhead travellers where the height of lift is moderate.
In steam cranes it is usual to work all the motions from one double cylinder engine.
In electric cranes the motor is connected to the barrel, either in a similar manner by spur gear or by worm gear.
Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes; it is error upon error, and clout upon clout, and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness.
A long war, not with cranes, but with weeds, those Trojans who had sun and rain and dews on their side.