The electric batten
was the earliest form of automated stage rigging
for the theatre. The system functions on the same principals as the counterweight fly system
but uses a single, electric dirven motor to control the purchase line
In this system, all of the lines from the batten are wrapped around a drum. This drum is driven by the motor, but can only turn in one direction. In order to bring the batten back the the floor, there was a braking/clutching system which controlled descent.
The electric batten never proved a popular replacement to its manual competitors. It was slow, prone to breaking, and only moved at a fixed speed. The only advantage, of course is that it only required one operator to move severas linesets at once.
Today the electric batten has largely been replaced by the motor driven spotline and the hydraulic system. However, the manual counterweight system is likely to remain the most popular means of stage rigging for the near future.
Part of the Stage Rigging metanode