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Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934$
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Thomas Leslie

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037542

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037542.001.0001

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“Built Mostly of Itself”: Chicago and Clay, 1874–1891

“Built Mostly of Itself”: Chicago and Clay, 1874–1891

Chapter:
(p.15) Chapter 2 “Built Mostly of Itself”: Chicago and Clay, 1874–1891
Source:
Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934
Author(s):

Thomas Leslie

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037542.003.0002

This chapter describes major structures built from 1874–1891, which were dominated by taller masonry buildings that employed improved masonry, foundations, and fireproofing. Early fire-protected iron-framed buildings achieved modest increases in height over all-masonry structures. Wrapping iron columns and girders with terra-cotta jackets saved owners floor space that would otherwise have gone toward larger brick piers, though masonry was still the primary material for exterior walls. The result—jacketed iron structures inside surrounded by bearing masonry walls outside—was called “cage” construction in New York. The skyscrapers built in Chicago's building boom of 1884—1886 all deployed this hybrid strategy of metal frame and masonry wall. Skyscrapers supported, braced, and clad with masonry were also made stronger and more economical by the rise of a pressed-brick industry in Chicago.

Keywords:   Chicago, masonry building, building construction, terra-cotta jackets, cage structures, brick industry

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