If you have a crane on your route or in your arcade right now, then you probably have Achiel Verstraeten to thank for it. This revolutionary game designer and engineer founded Elaut back in 1959, and changed the industry in a heap of positive ways. Sadly, he passed from us on Oct. 19 at the age of 84.
Verstraeten’s curiosity and drive to succeed led to some of the most innovative (now deemed necessary) aspects of the amusement crane, which would not exist as we know it today without his contributions. As one of the most successful and durable of all the amusements this business offers to the public, RePlay and many of our readers have him to thank for infusing the industry with forward momentum and providing a living for thousands.
“He educated a whole generation of co-workers that are now very specialized in the amusement industry,” said his daughter Helga. “He gave his staff and children the skills to survive in the industry, and built a strong foundation for the company we are all now a part of.”
Achiel Verstraeten wasn’t one to stick to the workshop. He also spent many of his years networking and connecting with industry peers across the globe. He will be sorely missed by many on this side of the pond, and our deepest condolences go out to his family in Belgium where Elaut is headquartered.
“The people who worked with him describe him as a wise and righteous man. He lived a humble, honest and hardworking life.” Helga said. “He was interested in all aspects of it, with a special interest in people.” This “father of the modern crane” is also survived by his wife Josy, son and company chief Eric and daughters Helga and Emmy, plus seven grandchildren. The funeral service is scheduled to be held on Oct. 28.
“We will remember him as a warm person and loving father, who loved the industry, respected his customers and staff and was always grateful for the opportunities life gave him,” concluded Helga.