Skip to content

Construction of the first skyscraper in Chicago

01/01/1884

The first skyscraper

There is academic disagreement over which building should be considered the first skyscraper. The term was first used in the 1780s to describe a particularly tall horse, before later being applied to the sail at the top of a ship's mast, tall hats and bonnets, tall men, and a ball that was hit high into the air. In the 1880s it began to be applied to buildings, first in 1883 to describe large public monuments and then in 1889 as a label for tall office blocks, coming into widespread use over the next decade. Identifying the first "true skyscraper" is not straightforward, and various candidates exist depending on the criteria applied. George Post's New York Equitable Life Building of 1870, for example, was the first tall office building to use the elevator, while his Produce Exchange building of 1884 made substantial structural advances in metal frame design. The Home Insurance Building in Chicago, opened in 1885, is, however, most often labelled the first skyscraper because of its innovative use of structural steel in a metal frame design.

The Home Insurance Building was a 138-foot (42 m) tall, 10-story skyscraper designed by William Le Baron Jenney, who had been trained as an engineer in France and was a leading architect in Chicago. Jenney's design was unusual in that it incorporated structural steel into the building's internal metal frame alongside the traditional wrought iron. This frame took the weight of the floors of the building and helped to support the weight of the external walls as well, proving an important step towards creating the genuine non-structural curtain walls that became a feature of later skyscrapers. The design was not perfect – some of the weight was still carried by masonry walls, and the metal frame was bolted, rather than riveted, together – but it was clearly a significant advance in tall building construction.


Chicago's Home Insurance Building in 1884, often considered the world's first skyscraper

0 comments

Comment

No comments avaliable.

Author

Info

Published in 3/04/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic International Chronology:


01/07/1588Defeat of the Invincible Armada by the EnglishDefeat of the Invincible Armada by the English
01/01/1593Shakespeare writes Richard IIIShakespeare writes Richard III
01/01/1610Galileo invents the telescopeGalileo invents the telescope
01/03/1661Start of the reign of Louis XIVStart of the reign of Louis XIV
01/01/1687Denis Papin constructs the first steam engineDenis Papin constructs the first steam engine
17/05/175615/02/1763Seven Years’ WarSeven Years’ War
05/05/1789Outbreak of the French RevolutionOutbreak of the French Revolution
21/10/1805Battles of Trafalgar and AusterlitzBattles of Trafalgar and Austerlitz
21/02/1821Greece achieves independenceGreece achieves independence
20/06/1837Victoria is crowned Queen of EnglandVictoria is crowned Queen of England
24/11/1859Darwin - On the Origin of SpeciesDarwin - On the Origin of Species
01/12/1865Abolition of slavery in the USAAbolition of slavery in the USA
01/01/1884Construction of the first skyscraper in ChicagoConstruction of the first skyscraper in Chicago
01/01/1905Einstein - Theory of RelativityEinstein - Theory of Relativity
28/07/191411/11/1918First World WarFirst World War
01/01/1929Black Thursday on Wall StreetBlack Thursday on Wall Street
17/07/1936Start of the Spanish Civil WarStart of the Spanish Civil War
01/09/193902/09/1945Second World WarSecond World War
25/03/1957Signing of the Treaty of Rome - creation of the EECSigning of the Treaty of Rome - creation of the EEC
08/03/1965The USA intervenes in VietnamThe USA intervenes in Vietnam
09/11/1989Fall of the Berlin WallFall of the Berlin Wall
02/08/1990Outbreak of the Gulf WarOutbreak of the Gulf War
11/09/20012001 11 September2001 11 September
01/01/200731/12/2008Economic crisisEconomic crisis
01/01/1605Cervantes writes Don QuixoteCervantes writes Don Quixote
25/04/1719Daniel Defoe writes Robinson CrusoeDaniel Defoe writes Robinson Crusoe
09/07/1816Argentina achieves independenceArgentina achieves independence
05/05/1821Death of Napoleon BonaparteDeath of Napoleon Bonaparte
14/09/1822Champollion deciphers hieroglyphicsChampollion deciphers hieroglyphics
01/07/1844Alexandre Dumas publishes The Three MusketeersAlexandre Dumas publishes The Three Musketeers
01/02/1848Marx and Engels publish The Communist ManifestoMarx and Engels publish The Communist Manifesto
12/04/1861Outbreak of the American Civil WarOutbreak of the American Civil War
01/01/1865Tolstoy begins publication of War and PeaceTolstoy begins publication of War and Peace
24/12/1871Verdi's opera Aida is staged in CairoVerdi's opera Aida is staged in Cairo
07/03/1876Bell invents the telephoneBell invents the telephone
26/07/1882Wagner writes ParsifalWagner writes Parsifal
01/01/1885Karl Benz invents the first petrol-powered vehicleKarl Benz invents the first petrol-powered vehicle
13/02/1895Lumiére Brothers – 1st cinema projectionLumiére Brothers – 1st cinema projection
01/01/1899Bayer invents aspirinBayer invents aspirin
01/01/1912Proclamation of the Republic of ChinaProclamation of the Republic of China
14/04/1912Sinking of the TitanicSinking of the Titanic
08/03/1917Russian RevolutionRussian Revolution
01/01/1920Women granted the right to vote in the USAWomen granted the right to vote in the USA
01/01/1921Hitler becomes the leader of the Nazi PartyHitler becomes the leader of the Nazi Party
01/01/1923First broadcasting of images by televisionFirst broadcasting of images by television
27/07/1926Chang-Kai-Check reunifies ChinaChang-Kai-Check reunifies China
01/10/1927The start of sound filmThe start of sound film
18/11/1928Walt Disney creates Mickey MouseWalt Disney creates Mickey Mouse
01/01/1929Soviet Union – Stalin becomes undisputed leaderSoviet Union – Stalin becomes undisputed leader
01/08/1934Hitler becomes leader of German ReichHitler becomes leader of German Reich
01/01/1933Creation of the electronic microscopeCreation of the electronic microscope
15/02/1946First computer – ENIACFirst computer – ENIAC
01/10/1949Establishment of the People’s Republic of ChinaEstablishment of the People’s Republic of China
05/03/1953Death of StalinDeath of Stalin
13/08/1961Construction of the Berlin WallConstruction of the Berlin Wall
22/11/1963Assassination of President Kennedy in DallasAssassination of President Kennedy in Dallas
02/12/1805Battle of AusterlitzBattle of Austerlitz