Oliver Crosby - 2005 Inductee
(1855 - 1922) Crosby was the founder, president and chief engineer of American Hoist and Derrick Company (later known as AmHoist), a manufacturing company that created unique products for lifting and construction tasks. He is the inventor or co-inventor of 36 patents issued between 1887 and 1925, primarily hoisting devises and cable enhancements. His most well known invention is the wire rope clamp, a device to loop wire cable without losing its strength. It was marketed and sold as the "Crosby Clip" and is still being sold today.
Crosby invented the first traveling cranes mounted on railcar type wheels. For the railroad industry, he designed the ditcher, a flatcar-mounted crane that could scoop out dirt forming ditches on either side of the track. For the lumber industry, he designed cranes that could move between flatbed cars to safely lift logs on and off rail cars. For the shipping industry, he designed large traveling cranes for harbors around the world. And he designed the boom derrick for the sugar cane industry. Based on his designs, his company manufactured huge cranes for major construction projects, such as the Panama Canal. His company was also a major supplier of cranes, hoists and derricks for American shipyards during World War I and World War II. The company produced some of the largest machines ever manufactured. Perhaps the most famous is the forty-ton traveling crane at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard near San Francisco (home of the Pacific Fleet during World War II). It was recognized as the largest crane in the world for more than 15 years. Crosby also invented the first crawler cranes - cranes on continuous chain treads - the forerunner of today’s modern, huge crawler machines.
During Crosby’s tenure as president, from 1882 until his death in 1922, his company grew to more than 1,000 employees with offices in every major city in the United States. He created a culture and structure for the company to grow to be a Fortune 500 company, one of the nation's top 500 companies as measured by revenue. Crosby was a leader in the St. Paul business and civic community, focusing on city planning and beautification. Although he never ran for public office, his opinion and advice were widely sought in matters affecting municipal and civic development.
NOTE: These biographies have been compiled from information accompanying the nomination form submitted to the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame, information available on the Internet and from a variety of other sources.