Sunday, February 13, 2011

'Quirks of Fate' - By Vince Kish

'Quirks of Fate' by Vince Kish, Director of Public Relations & Communication at Old Westbury Gardens, the John S. Phipps estate in Old Westbury.


The Down East Dilettante said...

Very interesting article. I'm a sucker for interconnections and for conservation stories.

But why do I think the assertion that the Andrew Carnegie house was the first in America with a steel frame is incorrect?

The Ancient said...

Dilettante --

This isn't an answer to your question, but it's relevant:

When, in 1884, the Home Insurance Company asked Jenney to design an office tower, the architect designed an iron skeleton to bear the weight of the structure. After work began, the Carnegie-Phipps Steel Company, realizing the potential of a vast new market, informed Jenney that it could supply him with steel instead of iron beams. Thus the Home Insurance Building at the northeast corner of LaSalle and Adams Streets became a truly seminal structure.

It wouldn't surprise me if there were several earlier instances of partial iron or steel framing. As early as 1835, for example, Boorman & Johnston placed several enormous iron pillars they had imported from Sweden in the under front wall of their office at 119 Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan.

But the Smithsonian, for what it's worth, says Carnegie's house was the first.