Link chains and steel chains
Link chains (or also steel chains) usually have an identical basic design. Link chains and steel chains are made of interlocking round or oval rings. Exceptions are roller chains, knotted link chains and bead chains which do not have the ring shape. A further common characteristic of all link chains is that they can be moved on two planes. Unlike link chains, chains which are used for drive engineering applications can only be moved on one plane.
This chain design was already being used during the Bronze Age as jewellery. A pump with a link chain and steel chain was already being used as early as 1 BC, built by the Roman architect and engineer Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. However, the link chain (steel chain) first became really important when industrialisation began.
Later, link chains were used in mining, agriculture and just about everywhere else, as they were now mass produced and therefore readily available. There are many diverse applications for link chains. They range from sling gear, the lifting of loads weighing several tonnes, and cordoning off of certain areas, to the marking of danger zones as well purely ornamental applications.
The application a link chain is best suited for primarily depends on the material used, the thickness of chain links and the linking process of the different links. In order to prevent accidents and injuries, it is essential to ensure that the link chains used are suitable for the lifting of loads.