10 Interesting Facts About Ladders You Didn’t Know

facts about ladders

You’ve probably never given ladders much thought, but can you imagine a world without them? 

Not only would it be a lot harder for us to complete simple household maintenance tasks, but many professions would also come to a standstill. After all, roofers, firefighters, landscapers, and construction workers all use ladders daily as an integral part of their job

But beyond their usefulness, how much do you actually know about ladders? Check out these fascinating facts about ladders to learn more!

1. Ladders Have a Long History

We may never know who invented the very first ladder. But historians are almost certain that people have been using ladders since at least the Mesolithic era, around 10,000 years ago. 

We know this thanks to rock paintings dating from this period found in the Spider Caves of Valencia, Spain. This ancient depiction of a ladder shows two people using a long, flexible ladder made of grass to reach a honeybee nest. Definitely one of the most novel uses for ladders we’ve heard of!

2. The Humble Ladder Appeared in the Bible

The humble ladder also made an appearance in the Bible as part of Jacob’s dream. Jacob’s ladder, which featured in chapter 28 of Genesis, reaches right up to heaven, enabling angels to access the earth and then make their way back up to heaven. 

Most people consider Jacob’s ladder a symbol of the divine connection between God and the earth rather than an actual ladder. Even still, the story highlights how ladders can help us reach what would usually be out of our grasp. 

3. There Are Many Different Styles for Ladders

As well as many different ladder sizes, ladders come in a range of different styles. These include attic ladders, hook ladders, Christmas tree ladders, sectional ladders, and cat ladders. 

These different ladder styles often include small design differences to make them better suited to specific tasks. For example, roof ladders have a hooked top section for safe roof access while Christmas tree ladders fold out for use in the center of a room. 

4. Ohio’s John H. Balsley Invented the Step Ladder

A more modern incarnation of the traditional ladder is the step ladder, which master carpenter John H. Balsley of Ohio invented in 1862. 

His original model had hinges, enabling users to fold and pack the ladder away for ease of storage and transportation. Proving that the simplest inventions are also the most effective, a Daily Dayton Journal newspaper ad from the time promoted Balseley’s “improved steps” as strong yet light as well as shorter than a regular ladder for a variety of household uses. 

5. Ladders Are Getting Smarter

In the same way that we can control our home appliances with the touch of a button, Instaloft.co.uk has found a way to make daily loft and attic access easier and smarter with the Loftomattic AUTO. 

These compact and automatic ladders come with remote control functioning for easy access to your home’s hard-to-reach areas. As a result, struggling with an outdated manual ladder or heavy lever pulls will soon be a thing of the past. 

What’s more, the Loftomattic AUTO adapts to all loft and attic hatches for an instant, safe, easy, and super affordable solution to your loft and attic access problems. 

6. Ladder Accidents Are More Common Than You’d Think 

Safe solutions to manual ladders are even more important when you consider how common ladder-related accidents are.

On average, ladder accidents cause more than 500,000 people to seek treatment for a range of injuries every year. In some cases, these injuries can be fatal, with US statistics showing that ladder accidents cause over 300 deaths per year. 

In addition, estimates indicate that the annual cost of ladder injuries in the US is as much as $24 billion. This includes medical and legal bills, work loss, liability costs, and pain and suffering expenses. 

7. There Are Four Main Types of Ladder Mistakes

While ladder accidents account for thousands of home and workplace injuries every year, there are only four main types of ladder mistakes. These are:

  • Selecting the wrong type of ladder
  • Using the ladder incorrectly
  • Placing the ladder incorrectly 
  • Using a worn or damaged ladder

To avoid these mistakes you should always use the right ladder for the task at hand. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and place the ladder on a firm, even surface. To avoid accidents like the one reported in this fatal ladder fall and many similar preventable accidents, always check every rung of a ladder before using it. 

8. Ladder Are for Short Tasks Only 

While one of the main benefits of ladders over using other work equipment like cherry pickers and scaffolding is that ladders are quick to put into place, use, and remove. 

It is fitting, then, that the protocol for using ladders safely urges only using them for short-duration tasks. Here, the definition of short duration is 30 minutes, meaning that a single task should take no more than this length of time using a ladder. If a single task requires you to use a ladder for more than 30 minutes, use alternative work equipment. 

9. The Longest Ladder Ever

The Guinness Book of World Records credits Thomas Höllerer of the Handwerks Museum, St. Leonhard, Austria with making the world’s longest ladder. The wooden ladder, which was completed in April 2005, has 120 rungs and measures a whopping 135 feet long. 

10. Most Modern Ladders Are Aluminum

Unlike the longest ladder in the world, most modern ladders are made from aluminum. As well as being strong, lightweight, and durable, aluminum ladders don’t need as much maintenance to ensure they’re in excellent working order. 

Interesting Facts About Ladders

Did any of these facts about ladders surprise you? 

One of the biggest shocks for us was learning how long ladders have been around. And yet, despite all those thousands of years of practice, we still haven’t quite mastered the art of using ladders without falling off. 

Jokes aside, do make sure to take the advice we’ve touched on about using ladders safely. Because, as these ladder facts show, they’re a lot more dangerous than you might have imagined. 

For more interesting facts, general knowledge tidbits, and conversation starters, be sure to check out our other blog posts!

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