Converting the Faithful: A History of the Thern Brickhouse™ Front-Loading Arbor

Thern Stage Equipment - Brickhouse Arbor

Converting the Faithful: A History of the Thern BrickhouseFront-Loading Arbor

Thern Stage Equipment solves a customer’s problems. It is our priority to design, build, and supply top-quality stage rigging equipment that is secure and easy to use. The Brickhouse front-loading arbor is no different.

When Thern Stage officially entered the theatrical rigging market there were many actors already dominating the stage. At the time, we were primarily manufacturing and selling clew winches and drum hoists. To remain competitive, we had to broaden our product field and supply complete counterweight rigging systems.

Challenging The Standard

Traditional Side Loading Arbor
Traditional Side Loading Arbor


One part of the rigging system that we knew we could improve upon was the side-loading arbor. Side-loading arbors had monopolized the product market, but our team of experts found weaknesses in the design.  Loading and operating the equipment required extensive physical effort. The installer worked on hands and knees to load bricks from bottom to top while leaning out beyond the compliant safety rail. This was tricky because the installer has to hold the brick by its edge when loading. It was a precarious and often dangerous chore to load these arbors.

As our team researched alternatives, they quickly noticed that Canada and Europe had a wide variety of successful arbors that were more versatile and caused less stress on the users’ body.



Innovative Alternative to Traditional Side-Loading Arbor

Inspired, Thern began to develop an innovative alternative to the traditional side-loading arbor.

Our timing was well met, as we had been approached by Universal Studios to upgrade the counterweight rigging in one of their studios. The challenge was that their loading gallery was a bit above stage level. Resulting in short distance of travel if anything had to be lifted above the stage. The traditional method of side-loading arbors would have added larger weights, making the area not only crowded but difficult to manage safely. We solved the problem by designing a three-compartment arbor. This way the arbor itself grew, not the weights.

These custom arbors received rave reviews and we knew we were on to something! Shelves were added, allowing the user to stand and place bricks in groups working from top to bottom within the confines of the compliant safety rail. A gate was constructed locking the weights in place, removing the extra equipment of spreader plates and locking collars. Finally, loading an arbor became convenient.

Introduction of Brickhouse Front-Loading Arbor

Thern Stage Brickhouse Arbor
Thern Stage Brickhouse Arbor


In 2009, we officially launched the Brickhousefront-loading arbor! Except, the side-loading arbor had such a strong grip on the theatrical rigging world that many users were not eager to make the switch. However, we were confident in our product and with the help of trade shows and classic door to door salesperson techniques, we were able to convert the minds of the customer soon after introduction.

A side-by-side comparison proved the Brickhouse front-loading arbor is the obvious choice. The Brickhouseis not an alternative to the side-loading arbor, rather it is the evolution of counterweight rigging.