The architect, William Le Baron Jenney, had the critical idea to employ iron (eventually replaced by steel) framework. Previously, enormous structures relied on their walls to support the structure's weight. However, when the demand for higher structures developed in the late nineteenth century, this strategy became impractical. As a result, iron and steel frames were invented.
Other architects contributed to its development including John Burgee and Charles W. Steinman who both worked for Henry Hobson Richardson. Their work can be seen in the Reliance Building and the Tribune Tower respectively.
In 1871, Andrew Carnegie built the First National Bank in Chicago using an iron frame with masonry infill. It was the world's first tall building made of reinforced concrete.
In 1881, Daniel Burnham brought out his book, "A Plan for a City Hall", which showed that city governments were now willing to spend money on buildings instead of streetcars. The plan called for an office building with a 150-foot-high clock tower! A number of other architects followed with more innovative designs but none achieved popularity until the early 20th century when the skyscraper became popular again.
The first skyscraper in New York was built by William Waldorf Astor who also owned several other large hotels around the country. In 1898, he decided to build a new one next to his existing hotels on Park Avenue.
Jenney, Major William Le Baron The construction of large buildings in the 1880s gave rise to the skyscraper's first architectural movement, known colloquially as the Chicago School, which produced what became known as the Commercial Style. Major William Le Baron Jenney, the architect, designed a load-bearing structural structure. He also invented an early form of concrete called "Chicago mix", which is still used today for some foundations and interior work.
The modern skyscraper was designed by many architects, but it was Frank Lloyd Wright who is usually credited with its creation. Wright proposed a plan for an office building that included a central atrium surrounded by floors of offices. His idea was not adopted until much later, in 1960. By then, the modern skyscraper had become one of America's most important contributions to the world of architecture.
The first true skyscraper, if we exclude churches and mosques that are still being built today, was the Singer Tower in New York City. It was completed in 1871 and stands 381 feet tall. The second such tower was the Tribune Tower in Chicago, which was finished two years later. It too is 381 feet high and holds the title of the tallest wooden building in the world.
In 1881, the first steel-framed skyscraper was built in Chicago. It was owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II and was named the New York Life Insurance Building.
However, it was the development of the Bessemer process, which was first utilized in the United States in the 1860s, that allowed for the significant advancement in skyscraper building. Because steel is stronger and lighter than iron, the use of a steel frame allowed for the construction of genuinely tall structures. The first true skyscraper, the Equitable Building, was built in New York City during the 1870s.
The development of the elevator in the 1850s also played an important role in allowing for the rapid ascent of skyscrapers. Before this innovation, building heights were limited by the need to climb stairs or take elevators servicing all floors above your own.
The introduction of electric lights in the late 1880s further increased the potential height of buildings by making more space available for offices and other living areas. Previously, windows had been used as natural light sources, but with the adoption of electricity many new types of light fittings were developed to take advantage of this new source of illumination.
The development of radio and television in the 1920s and 1930s brought about the need for better transmission lines than could be provided by traditional wiring methods. As part of its effort to provide better service to its customers, the telecommunications industry has continually looked at ways to improve services and lower prices. One result of these efforts is the rise of wireless technology, which has allowed for the construction of even more sophisticated buildings over time.