Live Design Blog Archive

J. R. Clancy Receives Patent for PowerLift Feature

A feature in the design of J. R. Clancy's popular PowerLift automated hoist has been issued U. S. Patent 7,766,308.

Within the hoist, the use of a sliding drum on a fixed shaft creates a zero fleet angle as the lift lines leave the drum. The more efficient functioning of the drum and shaft reduces both size and maintenance requirements, a benefit to theatres and performing arts centers that choose PowerLifts for their rigging systems.

While the sliding drum in the patented PowerLift hoist is a new development, zero fleet angle hoists are not new. “We began building and marketing zero fleet angle hoists in the 1960s, using the Izenour hoist design,” said Tom Young, J. R. Clancy vice president of marketing. “Many of the hoists installed nearly five decades ago are still in use.”

In the decades since the Izenour hoist introduction, changes in materials and technology have led to considerable refinements to the original design. J. R. Clancy's newly patented design provides a method for keeping the hoist smaller, by moving the lead screw to a position inside the drum.

The new design is one in a long series of innovations pioneered by J. R. Clancy, some dating back to the company's inception. John Clancy, the company's founder, launched his business in 1885 by developing high-capacity pulleys that could lift heavy scenery. The company went on to invent the self-closing fire curtain in 1905, in response to the devastating 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago. Trim clamps and floating floor blocks were also Clancy innovations.

J. R. Clancy started building the motorized Izenour hoists in the 1960s, and controllers to synchronize the hoists electronically. Its work in motorized rigging and controls continued to expand through complex custom projects throughout the twentieth century. In the early 2000s, the company developed the PowerLift line of affordable, off-the-shelf automated hoists, receiving the first patent for these hoists in 2005.

“This patent represents a new way to look at an established product, making it even more reliable and reducing its already low maintenance requirements,” said Mike Murphy, J. R. Clancy president. “We continue to explore new technologies and solutions that will deliver highly efficient, dependable, long-lived products to our customers.”

More information is available at, or at (800) 836-1885.

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