The centerpiece of the holiday season in New York City is the awe-inspiring Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  Each year, a special tree is selected and its entrance to Manhattan is greeted with as much excitement as the arrival of Santa’s sleigh.

The tree before the journey began.

This year’s tree, a Norway Spruce from Danville, Pa., was spotted by Rockefeller Center’s head gardener several years ago.  But at the time, the tree wasn’t ready, nor did the owner want to part with it.

But after a few years’ growth and the home under new ownership, the 90-year old tree was ready for its time in the limelight.

On November 5, the 85-foot tall, 13-ton tree was cut down and loaded onto a custom-made trailer using a 160-ton hydraulic crane and a crew of 15-20 people to handle the tree.  The special telescoping trailer could stretch to 100 feet and accommodate a tree up to 125 feet tall, according to

The tree was then transported 155 miles to Manhattan, traveling in the middle of the night with a police escort on a route designed to disrupt traffic as little as possible.

The tree at its final destination - Rockefeller Center.

On Friday, Nov. 7, the tree reached the city and a 120-ton hydraulic crane set it in its place of honor at Rockefeller Center.  Over the next month, the tree will be bedecked with 45,000-plus lights and a 9 ½-foot wide Swarovski star.  It will then be unveiled on December 3rd, in a tree-lighting ceremony that has been a tradition since 1933. It will remain up until January 7.

While Barnhart Crane has never transported an item with such sentimental value, we’ve had our share of unusual cargo: museum statues, a 1960s era garbage truck,  nuclear reactor heads, bridges, and even a few massive live oaks.   Still, we love a tradition just as much as anyone else and hold fast to the traditions and values we’ve established in our over 40-year history.  We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful Holiday Season.

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Alan Barnhart, Barnhart owner and president, will be the keynote speaker at the fourth World Crane and Transport Summit at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami Nov. 12-13.

The top-level, two-day conference and gala dinner, organized by KHL Group, has become an important gathering place for the world’s crane and heavy transport industries to exchange information and discuss best practices on vital industry topics.  Last year, the conference was held in Amsterdam.

Barnhart’s keynote address is entitled, “Renting Cranes for Fun and Profit.”   The conference will also cover topics including the importance of global partnerships and construction markets, transportation accidents and common causes and prevention, and the impact of investment in energy and oil and gas on the crane and transport sectors.

Serving as keynote speaker is just one of many responsibilities on Alan Barnhart’s plate.  In addition to being president of one of the largest crane companies in the United States with over 30 branches nationwide, Barnhart also serves as president of the Specialized Crane and Rigging Association (SC&RA).  Earlier this year, he was named as a “Top 25 Newsmaker” by Engineering News Record.

For more information on the Summit, visit .

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The iPhone 6: A Fellow Cool Tool

Anyone who thought Apple had lost its cool factor was proven wrong after the opening weekend of the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus when sales topped $10 million. That beat last year’s iPhone 5S opening weekend by $1 million.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

At the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York, the line of would-be buyers stretched for more than 10 blocks.  Nearly 1,000 people were already in line the night before the phones went on sale on September 19.  It’s clear the ardor for Apple products has not dimmed among the faithful.

Since the opening weekend, it has been discovered that the new iPhones have a few glitches, as many new products do. But fans love the larger screens and sharper resolution of the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus.

Yes, the iPhone 6 is still pretty cool, but Barnhart has created some pretty cool tools as well. And these tools have been thoroughly tested again and again.

Take the Powered Saddle Roller.  OK, maybe it doesn’t create the kind of mania that the new release of the iPhone 6 inspires.  Maybe people don’t line up around the block to see it perform. But when it solves a problem, or makes a project easier, it turns skeptics into believers.

Powered Saddle Roller

The Powered Saddle Roller is a prime example of Barnhart’s innovation at work. Prior to its invention, the low-profile rollers in existence relied on a secondary piece of equipment to lift loads. Barnhart’s engineering team saw a need for an all-in-one, freestanding roller and jacking assembly. They then went out and made the tool a reality.

At less than nine inches tall, the hydraulically powered units can go underneath a vessel, lift it up and then maneuver the piece to a final destination.  Perhaps the highest profile use for this low-profile equipment was in the removal and replacement of a 350,000 lb. nuclear reactor head at a facility in Southern California.

Take that, iPhone 6.


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Acquisitions have been in the news lately.  Last week alone, Burger King merged with Tim Hortons and Amazon announced that it will acquire Twitch, a video service aimed at gamers.  While the reasons for mergers and acquisitions vary, generally they are done to add a service for customers or to expand a market.

That’s the case with Crane Rental & Rigging, a company based in Omaha, Nebraska. Barnhart has reached a definitive agreement to purchase the company which will now operate as Barnhart and will transition fully as part of the Memphis-based company’s national network of branches.

In addition to Omaha, Crane Rental & Rigging has two other Nebraska locations in Lincoln and South Sioux City.  The company also currently has offices in Iowa in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Ames and in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Barnhart plans to invest resources in the operation to meet the growing needs of the area.  There will be no reduction in workforce at the company. Continue reading

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When a bridge is replaced on an active highway, time is of the essence. That was the case with a recent Barnhart project for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT).  The company was hired to replace both the eastbound and westbound bridges on I-84 at Marion Avenue in Southington, Connecticut.

According to the Hartford Courant, nearly 85,000 people travel that portion of I-84 every day, so closing a section of the interstate was a major disruption of traffic.  To mitigate the problem, the project had to be completed over a weekend.

The old bridge, built in 1964, was too rusted and deteriorated to repair.  So while CTDOT engineers planned for their removal, the replacement bridges had been constructed on site over the course of several months.

At 9 p.m. on a Friday night the highway was shut down.  The project had to be completed by Monday at 5 a.m. Continue reading

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As Brazilians mourn the shocking lopsided loss of their beloved home team and face the prospect of a hated rival winning the FIFA World Cup, soccer fans around the world are looking ahead to the Sunday final between Germany and Argentina.

At the center of that stage is the soccer ball, the design of which has continually evolved over the past century.

In the 1930’s, players played with a hand-sewn ball made of leather with heavy laces.  In order to inflate the ball, the laces would have to be untied to reach the rubber interior bladder. Needless to say, the heavy laces discouraged the practice of heading.  Plus, when the leather ball got wet, it became even heavier.  Ouch! Continue reading

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When you specialize in crane and rigging services, you often encounter unusual challenges, many in mid-air.  That was the case with a project Barnhart Crane and Rigging completed last spring which recently received SC&RA’s Rigging Job of the Year, under $150,000,

A new 352-feet high tower with an air traffic control cab was being constructed at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. The general contractor temporarily installed 10 working platforms, each weighing 12,000 pounds, to install the cab.  Once it was in place, it was discovered that the cab’s outermost diameter overhung the walls by 18 feet, so the platforms could not be removed with the tower crane.   And did we mention they were 230 feet in the air?

The contractor turned to Barnhart for a solution. We then turned to a unique weapon in our arsenal, the tip stick, which could also function as a cantilever. As the name would suggest, it is designed to tip and maneuver around obstacles like the tower facade. Continue reading

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Barnhart is always looking for better ways to serve customers and sometimes that means branching out into new territory.  So pardon our enthusiasm and this moment of self-promotion as we announce our recent acquisition in the following press release.   

Barnhart has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Hite Crane and Rigging. Hite Crane and Rigging has been providing hoisting and rigging services throughout the Inland Empire and Pacific Northwest with cranes from 10 to 440 ton, as well as heavy transport and specialized rigging equipment. The deal gives Barnhart, based in Memphis, its first operations in the area.

Currently, Barnhart has 25 branches nationwide, and has one of the nation’s largest equipment inventories including electronic steer Goldhofer trailers, cranes to 1,760 tons, sliding systems, strand jacks, and the Modular Lift Tower system.

“Hite Crane & Rigging has a strong, proud history of doing exceptional work.” said Alan Barnhart, CEO of Barnhart. “Since 1969 Hite has been delivering dependable innovative solutions for their customers’ heavy lifting and heavy transportation needs. This acquisition will allow Barnhart to continue to serve those same customers while offering a broader range of services that should help lower their overall projects’ costs. We think our customers throughout the Inland Empire and Pacific Northwest will be very pleased with the expansion of services this acquisition allows.”

Barnhart Crane & Rigging, also established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of heavy lifting and transportation solutions. The company has locations across the United States. Services also include logistics, machinery moving, and plant relocations. Barnhart’s Quality Management System is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 international standard and has been registered since 2000.

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Alan Barnhart, Barnhart Crane & Rigging owner and president, has been named the new president of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) for 2014.  The SC&RA is an international trade association of nearly 1,300 companies from 43 nations.

Barnhart has been involved with the association since the 1980s, when he and his brother Eric took over the company his parents had founded in 1969.   Over the next three decades, they built the business into an industry powerhouse with 20 branches across the U.S. recognized as having one of the strongest networks of rigging experts and equipment in the country.

Since the company was founded, it has received numerous industry awards, including this year’s SC&RA Rigging Job of the Year, adding to their stash of association awards which number in the double digits.

According to the SC&RA, the selection of Alan Barnhart not only serves as a symbol of achievement for both Barnhart Crane & Rigging and its accomplished chief, but exemplifies the role that the association plays in providing its members, as well as the industry, with proven, trusted and unsurpassed leadership.

SC&RA is a solid organization with a great staff,” says Barnhart.  Many talented people have invested their efforts in making it a valuable force in our industry. I plan to continue to push the flywheel. Permit uniformity, safety standards, regulation and training have been valuable contributions of our organization, and we should continue to make strides in these areas.”

“We need to continue to engage the process and encourage change that improves the industry.  My role will be small, but the role of SC&RA has been, and should continue to be, vital.”

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The Peeples Choice

Now that we’re coming out of our post-Easter sugar comas, it’s time to pay homage to a staple of Easter baskets everywhere.  Peeps.  Those fluorescent-colored bunnies and chicks aren’t just for eating anymore.  Each year, they serve as inspiration for Peeps Diorama Contests across the country that challenge entrants to create a setting and “peepify” it.

See some entries from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press Marshmallow Peeps Diorama Contest:

Bunny Slope by Jane Dierberger

Peep with the Pearl Earring by Jill Schaefer

“Chick Magnet” by Bev and Murray Schomberg

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