It was January 30th 1940 and the Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas was certain that the clouds of war would engulf Greece as well. He had been preparing the country for this for the last four years. So as part of the civil defense necessary, the Greek Fire Brigade ordered four of cranes for the difficult times ahead. These were Magirus 26 meters cranes. Nine months later, the war did catch up with Greece and the cranes were used in numerous incidents.
The years went by, peace came back to the country and eventually their services were no longer needed. Of the four cranes only one’s whereabouts are known. This big metal veteran was abandoned… It was left to its fate totally exposed to the elements of nature.
But here is where our story gets an interesting twist. Eighty years after it first came to Greece the old crane was found by eight firemen in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece. It was in a horrible condition.
What had happened is that in the early 2000s an attempt was made to restore it and it was sandblasted to have the paint removed. However, these efforts were discontinued for some reason and the crane was abandoned again but this time without the paint that was protecting it all these years. The corrosion wasn’t nice with it… If it wasn’t for some firemen’s initiative to move it five years later to a warehouse, it would have been totally destroyed.
It was there that the eight firemen found it ten years later. They didn’t have to think long about it. They were going to restore it, but this time they would do it the right way. So, they started this time consuming, difficult as well as delicate work with the help of an art conservator that the Thessaloniki Antiquities Department sent to their aid. They work on their spare time and they cover the necessary expenses themselves…
As it seems, it is worth it since this old veteran crane just refuses to die! And so, a few days ago, the engine came back to life! Puffing and coughing at first, it proofed to everyone that there is still life inside its metal heart.
The videos and the photos that follow shows us just a glimpse of the restoration efforts.
Works are still in progress…
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Source material TopSpeed.gr