The Fireproof Building: Technology and Public Safety in the Nineteenth-Century American City

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9780801863110: The Fireproof Building: Technology and Public Safety in the Nineteenth-Century American City

From the first American attempts at fireproof construction in the 1790s to the steel and concrete high-rises of the early 20th century, this text traces the development of structural fire protection in America and its important consequences for building construction as well as for the safety of cities. Urban conflagrations destroyed many downtowns in the 19th century. To protect their property, some owners made their buildings fire-resistive - or as they were called in the past, fireproof - by using new kinds of non-combustible materials and arranging the space inside to control the spread of fire. As these methods improved and owners replaced combustible buildings with fireproof ones, urban firestorms became a thing of the past. Sara E. Wermiel explores the work of the pioneers of structural fire protection, such as the architect Peter B. Wight. She explains when and why the materials of fire construction, including structural iron and hollow tile, came into use. The relatively high cost of these materials discouraged many owners from adopting them, however, and the system finally began to be used widely only at the end of the 19th century, after large cities had enacted building laws mandating fireproof construction for tall buildings and theatres. Wermiel shows the impact of building laws on the development of technology: the laws stimulated demand for fireproofing materials, which spurred innovation and drove down costs. Although introduced simply as non-combustible substitutes for wood, the materials of the fireproof building - notably, structural iron and steel, and concrete - became the standard for commercial buildings in the 20th century. Not only did they reduce the risk of fire, but after architects adapted them to create the skeleton frame - the sine qua non of the modern skyscraper - they revolutionized building construction.

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Recensione:

"In thoroughly examining the technological and legal aspects of fireproof construction, Wermiel's work illuminates the history of architecture, engineering, business, and insurance, and American social history as well... Wermiel's impressive analytic powers in digesting and explaining building codes, insurance practices, mill specifications, and labor history are clearly evident." -- Sharon Irish, Technology and Culture



"Scrupulous scholarship of the history of fireproofing in America." -- Ross Miller, Journal of American History



"Scholars will find this to be an excellent treatise holding intellectual relevance for years to come." -- Donald C. Jackson, Enterprise and Society



"The book outlines so well the history of fire-proof engineering that ir should be required reading for all architects, preservationists, and fire-protection engineers." -- Lonnie J. Hovey, APT Bulletin



"The Fireproof Building is a well-written and comprehensive account that sheds light on the design and construction of 19th-century buildings." -- A. Vernon Woodworth, Architecture Boston



"Clearly written, well detailed, and thanks to careful prose and a useful glossary, easily accessible to the lay reader." -- Amy S. Greenberg, American Historical Review



"Carefully crafted and informative... Wermiel has assembled and synthesized a great deal of difficult, technical details to support her narrative and to sustain her insightful conclusions." -- James B. McSwain, EH.Net



"Urban conflagrations destroyed many downtowns in the 19th century; fireproof structures and compelling laws slowly rendered conflagrations nonexistent. Technology historian and city planner Wermiel thoroughly traces the development of 'fire-resistive construction.'" -- Choice



"[T]he most comprehensive study in the field of fireproof construction that, to my knowledge, has ever been done in the realm of public history... Wermiel carefully discusses the subject of fireproof construction and its relation to urban growth in this essential read for the public or cultural historian, urban archeologist, or fire buff." -- Jane Rogers, The Public Historian



"The Fireproof Building brings thorough and long-overdue scholarship to an important but heretofore neglected aspect of construction technology." -- Carol Poh Miller, Industrial Archeology



"In offering a thorough study of the development of structural fire protection in America from 1790 to the early 20th century, Wermiel has illuminated an important and heretofore largely neglected historical subject." -- David R. Long, Journal of the West

Descrizione del libro:

How changes in building technology and policy eliminated big city fires--and prepared the way for the skyscraper

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Sara E. Wermiel
Editore: The Johns Hopkins University P (2000)
ISBN 10: 0801863112 ISBN 13: 9780801863110
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Descrizione libro The Johns Hopkins University P, 2000. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110801863112

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Dr. Sara E. Wermiel
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Sara E. Wermiel
Editore: The Johns Hopkins University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 0801863112 ISBN 13: 9780801863110
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Descrizione libro The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0801863112

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