Wrecking Ball

A wrecking ball is a heavy steel ball, usually hung from a crane, that is used for demolishing large buildings. It was most common during the 1950s and 1960s. Several wrecking companies claim to have invented the wrecking ball. An early documented use was in the breaking up of the SS Great Eastern in 1888-1889, by Henry Bath and Co, at Rock Ferry on the river Mersey.

With the invention of hydraulic excavators and other machinery, the wrecking ball has become less common at demolition sites because its working efficiency is smaller compared to that of long reach excavators. Although the wrecking ball is still the most efficient way to raze a concrete frame structure, it is decreasing in use.

Read more about Wrecking Ball:  Construction and Design, Method of Use, Modern Equivalents

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Allegheny College - History - Recent History
... In July 2007, a 1,500-pound wrecking ball demolishing part of Allegheny's Pelletier library broke its chain, rumbled down the hill, careened "back and forth across the street," hit nine parked cars ... Eight soccer balls in his car "likely lessened the impact of the wrecking ball," and possibly spared his life, according to a police officer on the scene ... The student body voted to name the library's coffee shop "The Wrecking Ball" after the event ...
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... and use of blasting charges, safer than dynamite and more efficient or practical than wrecking balls, to destroy buildings ... Wrecking balls are more likely to cause collateral damage, because it is difficult to completely control the swing of the ball ... However, wrecking balls are still used when demolition may not be possible due to local environmental issues or asbestos/lead building content ...

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