Liebherr TK8 Circa 1948
I love history. I complain about the safety of the old cranes, but I have to say that I love them. I've operated a Peiner PC 1200 from 1968. No counter swing, controls weren't standardized, single speed trolley that only ran fast due to lack of parts... try threading 10 meter I beams through a doorway with a crane that has only a fast trolley and no counter swing or positive acting brake! While I don't like to see them on sites, I find the history intriguing. Seeing the evolution from small tilt up TK 8's to the massive Kroll K10000 makes me smile like I did when I was a kid getting into my grandfather's old crawler that he had in his junkyard.
Old Portal Crane, Peiner 1200 (US designation), &TK25?
The best website that I know of that has assembled the history of tower cranes is Kran-Info. They have photos of cranes from the 40's with Hans Liebherr's TK8 to the large Wolff portal cranes that began to change how we constructed buildings. Pictures of them in use, pictures of the old controls that may make you scratch your head, and pictures of them being restored. These guys even have a museum that you could visit if you end up in Germany!
They were kind enough to allow me to promote their site and I thought that some of you may enjoy the site as much as I do. So go check it out. You might be there for a few hours!