Because steel is stronger and lighter than iron, the use of a steel frame allowed for the construction of genuinely tall structures. The 10-story Home Insurance Company Building in Chicago, designed by William Le Baron Jenney (1884–1855), was the first to employ steel-girder construction. It was followed by many more skyscrapers in Chicago and elsewhere in the United States.
In Europe, architects had long used stone as a building material, but it was not until the 19th century that true skyscrapers began to be built in large numbers. The Dantuorn i-Style in Bangkok, Thailand was the world's first concrete skyscraper and also one of the first buildings with a steel skeleton inside. Concrete was later replaced with glass as modern technology developed. Today, almost all skyscrapers are made from steel or glass. The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is currently the tallest building in the world at 2140 feet (640 m) high.
The American architect Louis Sullivan (1856–1924) is known for his contributions to the design of skyscrapers. He proposed a system of architecture called "the grid" as an alternative to the heavy ornamentation found on traditional buildings. His work has been adopted by many designers since then; the Chicago School of Architecture is one example where many young architects took inspiration from Sullivan to create new styles of their own.
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. The Brooklyn Bridge, for example, used this new material on a massive scale. Its main cables are actually made of wire rope coated with galvanized steel sheets.
The first true skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1884. It was called the Home Insurance Building and its height was only seven floors but it set a new standard for all future skyscrapers. Even though other cities like New York had taller buildings at the time, they were mostly made out of wood which can be burned down or damaged by ice storms. The Chicago skyscraper was made out of steel which was much more durable.
The reason why it took so long before everyone else followed suit is because there was no real need for such a structure until recently. There were no earthquakes in Chicago and the wind usually played a minor role in how high the trees grew. However, once technology advanced further and people started realizing how useful these supertall structures could be, many more came online over the next few decades.
In fact, the world's tallest building is still considered to be a skyscraper because it uses the same technology as the Chicago home insurance building.
A skyscraper is a tall commercial structure made of iron or steel. They were made possible by the Bessemer technique of mass producing steel beams. The 10-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago was the first modern skyscraper, built in 1885. It used structural steel frames with exterior finishings of brick and limestone.
The term "skyscraper" was first used to describe this type of building. Before then, these buildings were called "high-walled houses" or "flat-tops".
The home insurance industry was seeking greater efficiency in the construction process, so they hired the Dankmar Adler & Louis Sullivan partnership to design a building that would be both economical and efficient. The result was a steel frame with exterior finishings of brick and limestone. The building was also supposed to be fireproof, but this feature wasn't included in the original plan. However, after the fire department tested it and found it to be completely fireproof, the builders added a second floor over the fireproofing layer.
The Home Insurance Building is now part of the National Historic Landmark District of Chicago. It is considered one of the most important advances in the development of high-rise architecture.
After the success of the Home Insurance Building, other architects began to create their own versions of the skyscraper.
The Home Insurance Building, widely regarded as the first skyscraper due to its steel structure, debuted in Chicago in 1885 with four elevators serving its ten storeys. Elevator shafts are becoming an essential component of architectural design. The first enclosed elevator cabin was built by the American Steel Heel Company in 1905.
The first electric elevator was invented by Thomas Edison. It was installed in 1882 in a hotel called the New York Hotel on Broadway in Manhattan, New York City. The elevator used rubber belts and weights instead of cables to lift passengers up to the second floor. It was a great success and is considered one of the first true escalators.
The first hydraulic elevator was invented by Jules Verne's friend Antoine-Laurent Béquignon de Belle-Isle who called it "the elevator to heaven". It was installed in 1872 in a luxury hotel called the Royal Saxon Hotel on the Boulevard des Italiens in Paris. It was also an enormous success and is considered the first real elevator because its operation did not require human power.
Electricity is able to be transmitted through wires because it is an electrical phenomenon. Hydraulic systems, on the other hand, can't be wired together so they need another form of transmission such as pipes or compressed air.