But the world around us continues unaffected by our perceptions. And it is only at moments like this, when we are forced to pause and glance behind us, do we realize that, although we may delay, time does not.

In 1998 the White House was occupied by William Jefferson Clinton, a fresh faced Arkansas lawyer carried to power on a wave of euphoria and a mandate to slash the US budget deficit, ratify the problematic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and, while doing all of that, also overhaul the nation’s creaking healthcare system.

Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Great Britain was governed by Tony Blair who had waged a successful campaign centered on the assurance that "things can only get better."

It was against this background of optimism and promises of rosier days ahead that Hoist magazine was created.

During this period the industry was still adjusting itself to technological developments accompanied by continuing re-structuring of the global electric overhead travelling gantry crane business. The resulting acquisitions and rationalization would send shock waves reverberating throughout the industry.

By all accounts, the biggest deal in Spring 1998 was the divestiture of the P&H Material Handling unit from the Harnischfeger group. It appeared a fait accompli that the mighty Konecranes, a Finland-based supplier of cranes and service support for industrial applications worldwide, would quickly step into the void created by Harnischfeger group and snap up the hugely lucrative material handing unit.

As events were to unfold, Konecranes would ultimately get its way, but it would take a little longer than the company had planned. At the time of P&H’s surprise announcement, Hoist was one of the few industry voices that openly declared itself in favour of Chartwell Investments paying what was then (and is even now) the substantial sum of $340 million for an 80 per cent stake in the unit (check). At the time we argued that it was good news for the industry that P&H remains a major independent player, rather than being absorbed by a competitor.

In 2013 that business continues with P&H-trademark cranes and hoists supplied and supported by Morris Material Handling Inc. based in Oak Creek, Wisconsin USA. After ten years biding its time, Konecranes finally swooped and acquired Morris Material Handling in December 31, 2009. In 1998 conglomerates were considered out of fashion and Hoist was asking questions about the future ownership of Demag given the determined moves of its parent company, Mannesmann, to become a major player in the telecommunications industry.

As events were to unfold, Demag became part of Mannesmann Atecs (which stands for Advanced Technologies), a holding company for all of Mannesmann’s non-telecom activities.

And, following the acquisition of Mannesmann by Vodafone in 1999, the Atecs holding company was divested to a consortium of Siemens and Bosch and the Demag units became part of Siemens.

How much Hoist reflected these changes within the industry, and how much we influenced them is still a matter open to debate.

But it goes without saying that, even from our first issue, Hoist has been an active voice in the development of the factory crane industry. It is my hope that we will continue playing this important role for the next 15 years and beyond.

To celebrate our 15th anniversary we have spoken to industry thought-leaders for their views on the development of the international factory crane industry. We also look at some of the big stories of the past 15 years and the impact they had on the way we do business. Enjoy.