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Skyscrapers - 19th Century


Louis Henry Sullivan is regarded as the father of skyscrapers and he mainly worked in the 1800s. As decades and centuries pass by, design and structures keep changing, although the foundation design stays more or less the same.

Early skyscrapers were a range of tall buildings built for commercial purposes between the years 1884 and 1945 mainly in New York and Chicago.

The Home Insurance Building in Chicago by William Le Baron Jenney is regarded as the world's first skyscraper. It was a 10 storey building with 138 ft height. Though it seems to be a miniature in the present time, it was definitely nothing less than a grand structure back then. Several other major architects of the time like Louis Sullivan worked closely with this project.


Even the construction process differs when compared to the present system. This huge tall construction was made possible as a result of the collective effort of workers and the Bessemer process of mass production of steel beams. It is expected of these tall structures to sway a little in the strong wind and for which the skeleton of the building is strengthened by using steel rods and beams in the concrete.

Mentioned below are some of the early skyscrapers in the world:

- Home Insurance Building, Chicago

- Masonic Temple Building, Chicago

- Manhattan Life Insurance Building

- Milwaukee City Hall

- Philadelphia City Hall


Louis Sullivan, R.H.Robertson, Baron Jenney, George Browne were some of the prominent architects of the time working on skyscraper projects thereby opening up a path to a different era of skyscrapers.

"Our concern is not how to worship in the catacombs but how to remain human in the skyscrapers".

- Abraham Joshua Heschel

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