About leaf chain

Leaf chain is a form of rollerless chain commonly used in a variety of materials handling applications and lifting apparatus including:

  • Telehandlers, forklift trucks, lifts and hoists
  • Mobile elevated platforms
  • Machine tools (planers, drills, machine heads and machine centres)
  • Counter-weight balances (jacks, doors and gates)

Leaf chain is a simple construction of link plates and pins. Sheaves (not sprockets) are used to change the direction of the leaf chains.

Leaf chain with Chain-chain-test-certificate


As the component parts of leaf chain are dimensionally similar to standard roller chains, the economic production of leaf chain is largely dependent on factories that are able to produce large quantities of roller chain.


Leaf Chain history

  • The earliest evidence of the use of leaf chain dates back to 225 BC with records of simple bucket chain link systems being used to lift water from wells in Asia and Egypt.
  • In the 16th century, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched designs of plates and pins with metal fittings that bear a striking resemblance to leaf chain.
  • In the late 1800s, flat card used in the textile industry looked very similar to what we call leaf chain but was used to transfer rotary power.
  • Galle chain, patented in 1874, was the first industrial chain designed for lifting. It added extra outer links to bush chain to increase its strength and was used to lift lock gates.
  • Further development of leaf chain is linked to the increased use of forklift trucks during the Second World War.
  • Early forklifts used roller chain with the roller removed, however, as lifting capacity increased, more links were added and the bush was also removed.
  • During the 1950s and 1960s, most roller manufacturers were producing what we now think of as leaf chain.
  • The first standard for leaf chain was published in 1971.

Leaf chain with anchors bolts & leaf chain connecting link


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