History of Innovation

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1910: Woolworth Building – New York, New York

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Innovation: Steel
Location: New York, New York
Year: 1910
Inventor: Cass Gilbert

The Woolworth Building, currently standing at 791 feet, was built to be the world’s tallest building for the early 1900’s [1]. This building surpassed the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, built in 1907, which stands at 700 feet [2].  F. W. Woolworth commissioned the construction in 1910 for initially $2 million, although by the end of construction it cost $13.5 million [1]. Construction began in 1910, with plans of it only standing 625 feet, although quickly increased to 791 feet. The Woolworth Building was the tallest building in the world for 20 years before the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street were constructed in 1930 [1]. The architect Cass Gilbert designed the building to represent neo-Gothic facades, modernizing the look of European cathedrals. To design the frame of the building, Woolworth contracted two engineers, Gunvald Aus and Kort Berle, to solve questions about creating a stable building, while experiencing weather conditions at a high altitude and the weight, wind and other loads presented from the height of the building. Their design consisted of a rectilinear steel frame fastened in caissons that were laid within the bedrock [1]. The facades were made, initially of terra-cotta, stain glass windows, and bronze furnishings.

Works Cited: 1, 2
Other Articles: 3


Written by Caylea Pogue

October 5, 1910 at 6:01 pm

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