How Was the First Skyscraper Built?

Building of the first skyscraper in Chicago

A Skyscraper is a commercial building built of Iron or Steel frameworks which is generally really tall, as compared to other buildings. The first skyscrapers of the world came into existence around the end of the 19th century, towards the start of the 20th century. What was the First Skyscraper built in the world and where?

Home Insurance Building

The first skyscraper was actually built in Chicago in the United States of America. It was the "Home Insurance Building" built in the year 1884-1885. This building is often also referred to as the Father of the Skyscraper because it is the first-ever skyscraper that came into existence. This building had around 10 different stories piled on top of the other. The approximate total height of the building was 138 feet or up to 140 feet when rounded up. The Home Insurance Building was further expanded upwards with the addition of two extra stories leading to it being approximately a total of 180 feet by the year 1891. However, this original building does not stand today as it was demolished in the year 1931. In place of the demolished Home Insurance Building, another skyscraper was built – it was called the Field Building. This building had even more stories than the Home Insurance Building did, approximately 45 stories in total. This means the Field building was actually four times the height of the original Home Insurance tower, greater than 500 feet in total.

Home Insurance Building, ChicagoHome Insurance Building, Chicago

Bessemer Process

The construction of the world’s first skyscrapers was only possible due to Englishman Henry Bessemer. This man is responsible for creating the process which allowed for steel to be produced in a relatively cheaper manner through mass production. Henry Bessemer purchased a patent to blow the carbon out of pig iron from an American man named William Kelly. Through this, Henry Bessemer was able to create his own patent of decarbonizing through a blast of air. This eventually led to the “Bessemer Process” of making steel. The process allowed for the production of steel for taller structures and is still used to make Modern-day steel.

Chicago School of Architecture

The earliest skyscrapers and their architectural designs were made at a place that was soon known as the Chicago school. The designs included Steel frame structures, glass-plate windows, terra cotta exteriors, and cornices.

If we compare these old skyscrapers to the buildings we have around today, they seem like very small or miniature buildings in comparison. There have been immense changes in the architectural and engineering process that were previously carried out and with the change in technologies and innovation promotion throughout the world, this has been made possible. In today’s time, the tallest skyscrapers of the world go above 100 floors of height and are greater than 2600 feet. In the olden days, it would have been impossible to imagine buildings ever being made of such great height.

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