The humble ladder.

If you work in any of the construction trades, you’ll have seen that many ladders you probably don’t notice them anymore, unless you’re doing an equipment or safety inspection.

So, which bright spark created the early version of this construction site essential?

The first known evidence of a ladder as we would recognise one today dates back to the Spider Caves in Valencia. An etching in Mesolithic rock, believed to have been around for over 10,000 years, shows a ladder made from some kind of grass or plant material, being used by two men to access a bee’s nest.

There’s a good chance they were around even earlier. Its hard to imagine how the pyramids could’ve been built without them.

Fast forward a few thousand years to 1862 when American John H. Balsley first registered a patent for a folding wooden step ladder. Thanks to Mr Balsley, it became much more convenient for people to transport their access equipment, but it was only in the early 19th century that aluminium became the preferred material for manufacturers. By the mid 20th century, glass-fibre was introduced and, like wood, is useful when a non-conductive solution is needed.

Not surprisingly, ladders are crucial in the scaffolding industry. Working at height can be dangerous without the right kit, so we check ours for damage regularly and replace any ladders and gates which don’t meet our high standards. The health and safety of our scaffolders is paramount.

That’s why our ops manager Marc is looking especially excited about this delivery. New brick guards and ladders arrived at our yard last week and are already off to sites around the Midlands.

And our kit is definitely 21st century, top quality – there won’t be any plant-based ladders on our sites!


If you have a project and need a top-notch access solution, we can help. Give us a call on 01543 473999 or email