errors and omissions

reliance.jpgA somewhat overdue correction…in Chapter 5 of Chicago Skyscrapers, I cited a contemporary source stating that the Reliance Building’s skin was “nearly 90 percent glass.”  Sharp-eyed CAF docent Chuck McLaughlin sent me the attached photo along with a guess that the actual percentage was more like 75%.

True enough.

The Reliance’s windows are about 9′ in height.  Its terra cotta spandrels are 4’-6” deep (from Freitag’s 1904 book–which gives a total floor to floor height of 13’-6”).  So the total glass-to-solid ratio is 66% not counting the vertical mullions.  This sounds too low, but I think it’s right if you count the horizontal sills at the base and top of each window as solid.

From the inside, of course, 9’ windows with a 2’-0” upstand for the spandrel (again, from the detail published in Freitag) still gives only 81%, which is “nearly” 90% only in the language of the era’s breathless newspaper editing.  I suspect this is where the claim may have come from, and the “70%” claim for the Fisher is, likely, based again on its interior dimensions.

Thanks to Chuck for sending this in–I think it’s critical to get details like this one correct, and as and when a second edition comes out (fondest hopes…) I’ll make sure this gets fixed…

5 thoughts on “errors and omissions

  1. Here’s another suggestion for the hoped-for 2nd edition: on page 162, you write that 333 N Michigan is 472 ft tall with a pylon on top. The 5/1/27 Daily Tribune article that you cite describes the proposed building as a 265 ft base, topped by a 116 ft tower, topped by a 92 ft pylon. A sketch of the proposed building, with pylon, appears in a Daily Tribune display ad on 6/22/27. Here’s the link —
    But that 92 ft pylon was never built. So the actual building is closer to 381 ft tall (or 394 ft according to Frank Randall).


    • Another well-spotted glitch–Thanks, Bill, I will add this to the list–fortunately, it’s still a pretty short one! (If Randall says it’s so, I believe it…)


      • Thanks, Tom. If it were easy to write a book, everyone would do it. What’s your thought about the chamfered corners on 333 N Michigan? Merely a slimming device or something else?


    • CTBUH says 396 ft., very close to Randall’s figure
      Also about 333 N. Michigan: fig. 8.16 says “view from northeast” but surely that is from the northwest.

      Another bit to correct is on pg. 27: the Auditorium “combining a six-thousand seat theater with office space and a first-class hotel” – but per Siry’s book (pg. 199) early announcements projected about 5,000 fixed seats, but as built it had 4,237.

      You probably already caught these: pg. 31, lines 3-4, “(figures 2.14, 2.15)” should read “2.13, 2.17” (I realize how easy it is for figure numbers to get mixed up!). An obvious typo is on pg. 193, footnote 17: the year “1986” should be 1896.

      But remarkably few errors in the book, as far as I could tell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many thanks, Bob! I knew about the figure mixups, but the other corrections are all new ones. Many thanks for the sharp eyes, and very glad to see someone’s reading the footnotes. All to be corrected in the hoped-for second printing…


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