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May 28, 2024 36 mins

Skyscrapers are beautiful -- and utterly ridiculous. In the first part of this two-part episode, Ben, Noel and Max learn how modern skyscrapers were largely inspired by one guy who, no kidding, saw a heavy book resting on a birdcage and thought "yes, that. But bigger!"

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Ridiculous Histories, a production of iHeartRadio. Welcome back to the

show Ridiculous Historians. Thank you, as always so much for
tuning in. Let's give a shout out to our own
towering super producer, mister Max Williams.

Speaker 2 (00:38):

Speaker 3 (00:39):
I just want to point out that before we started
this episode, we were talking about the topic and Noel
gwent Skyrim, and so we're starting this recording about five
minutes later than we were originally going to because we
talked about White Run and Iron Daggers, sure, the towers theory,
all that kind of funn and Nolda sat there and
was like, why did I do this?

Speaker 1 (00:58):
So that's Noel Brown, that's me, and we're all still
playing Skyrim. And I think it was the phrase sky
that got all of us started today.

Speaker 2 (01:08):

Speaker 1 (01:08):
Previously on Ridiculous History, we discussed the idea of skyscrapers.
What's the what's like the tallest building you guys have
been in geez.

Speaker 2 (01:20):
I think when I was a kid, I went to
the Sears Tower in Chicago, which I think is a
is a kind of one of the biggies, or at
least it was for a while.

Speaker 1 (01:31):
Yeah, Yeah, it's it's so it's going to look so
strange to future historians, like you fast forward.

Speaker 2 (01:38):
I think about this often. We've talked about on the show.

Speaker 1 (01:41):
You fast forward several centuries or millennia, and imagine that
you are an historian walking through the ruins of a
modern city or what we call modern city today, and
you see a bunch of interstates or the ruins of interstates,
and you see a bunch of weirdly foul like buildings,

you know, like you would you would walk around and
you would say, the people of this city, they had
a sophisticated aqueduct system, and they worshiped the penis.

Speaker 2 (02:12):
They were obsessed with dogs z they would obsist with dogs.

Speaker 3 (02:17):
I mean, I will say the one we have in Atlanta,
so we have I mean, it's the Bank of America
buildings how I've always referred to. But it's like it's
like it's like a really tall one. And I've always
referred to as like the giant cigarette, because it's just
like this is the one thing and it's right at
the top, but it's just like a cigarettes cigarette. Yes,
it is very phallic in nature, and maybe we're projecting

a bit, but we can be honest when we say
skyscrapers are so cool and they are so very ridiculous, right,
they're kind of weird looking.

Speaker 2 (02:53):
They're weird looking. I mean, I guess they make sense,
you know, in these you know, very densely populated urban
air areas where real estate is it's such a premium
and there's really nowhere to put stuff except up, right, Yeah, yeah,
it is.

Speaker 1 (03:10):
That's a great point, because it makes sense to build
up and maybe to build down instead of to build out.
And if you canna afford it, right, if you could
afford it, yeah, usually the basement apartments are cheaper than
the penthouses so far.

Speaker 2 (03:28):
But SCOTTSCA flooding right, oh yeah. Also, remember when New
York was having all that crazy flooding and the subways
and stuff. A lot of the cool hipster types with
recording studios and basements in Bushwick lost all their vinyl
and all their crazy you know, consoles and vintage mics.
Because that water it flows downhill, aka into your basement

studio or apartment.

Speaker 1 (03:53):
And this this may be apocryphal, but I heard back
in the day that New York City will flood if
it does not constantly have underground water pumps.

Speaker 2 (04:08):
Have you guys heard that like that? It certainly makes sense.

Speaker 1 (04:11):
The subways will be inundated. They rely on this underground
machinery to keep things dry. But you know, they're still
going with it. New York City. Maybe a fad, but
hopefully a fad that continues, and New York City and
Chicago as will find. It's really continuing an ancient human

architectural trend. When we're talking about skyscrapers, we're talking about
this human urge to build the biggest, tallest thing.

Speaker 2 (04:42):
All the time. Isn't that interesting the way what once
was very much a spiritual pursuit, or at the very
least you could even argue an attempt to to you know,
kind of play God right and build up into the

heavens like the Tower of Babel. Wasn't that almost considered
blasphemous to attempt to dare build something that would attempt
to touch the heavens or to reach into the celestial realm.

Speaker 1 (05:18):
Yeah, it was like if God wanted us to be
that high in the atmosphere, God would have made us
taller exactly. So, I mean, it's nuts, right, because we
have seen throughout history, throughout cultures when people can build
big stuff, they do, and historically very tall or very

large structures were the flex of religious or political leaders,
you know, for a long long time. The biggest building
ever or the tallest, I should say it was the
Great Pyramid of Giza. It was built, as we know
to you know, built as a grave basically for the

pharaoh Kufu. And it was I almost said, at its
height it was around four hundred and seventy six feet tall.

Speaker 2 (06:12):
That was huge.

Speaker 1 (06:13):
For like four thousand years, that was the tallest building.

Speaker 2 (06:17):
Yeah, And I mean, you know, I was just kind
of trying to check myself about this, the apocryphal nature
of the Tower of Babel story, which I think can
be looked at a little bit more as a metaphor
and allegory of like man trying to contend with the
boundaries set by God. Right. But there's an interesting little
post on a Reddit thread that says, and then they said, come,

let us build ourselves a city and a tower with
its top in the heavens, and let us make a
name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face
of the whole earth. God took this as pride and arrogance.
Man was simply trying to unite and stick together with
one language and one common goal. God punished Man and

forced him to live up to his name and worship him. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (07:05):
Humans tried to do something cool and God took that personally.

Speaker 2 (07:09):
Last that story.

Speaker 1 (07:10):
Yeah, yeah, and that's I think in the in the legends,
in the folklore, that is the origin of linguistic fragmentation.

Speaker 2 (07:21):
That's right, right.

Speaker 1 (07:22):
So the we also, I think we talked about it earlier.
We also know that the definition of a tower or
a tall building has changed. It's escalated over time.

Speaker 2 (07:40):
Yeah. Ten, things tend to do that, don't they. You
got to kind of outdo your predecessors once, right, that
the tomb of Faroh Cufu, for example, well with cows
within the Great Pyramids of Giza, were one hundred and
forty five meters high, which is around four hundred and
seventy six feet tall by days standards. That's a pittance.

As the Brits might say, Yeah, it's fine, you know
what I mean, It's perfectly fine, sacred geometrical space. Yes, right,
we also know that.

Speaker 1 (08:15):
I don't know, man, I always think about the first
time I saw the Tower of London, and it's fine.

Speaker 2 (08:26):
We're such bummers. Well, no, it is interesting too though,
because I mean a lot of times, building for height
when it came to these types of towers was about defense.
It was about getting one up on your enemies and
about having a bird's eye view, being able to see
folks coming from as far away as possible, and you know,
having them to fight through a whole bunch of floors

of guards and soldiers and what have you in order
to get to the big boss.

Speaker 1 (08:53):
Yeah, we should do an episode on why castles aren't
built the way they are. You know, when the holes
to shoot arrows, what are those things called it?

Speaker 2 (09:02):
There's a name for them. Okay, I got a couple
of names, arrow loops being one of them, because they
were these strategic spots where you know, archers would be
able to post up and have some coverage, right, or
cover as we call it in video game parlance. And holes, yeah, man,

give me them murder holes. That's nasty, also known as
crenels and oh gosh, how do I even pronounce this?
Machia colliations, machio machia machio collations, let's call it that. Yeah,
I like murder holes.

Speaker 1 (09:39):
The murder holes rule so it's the we know, as
you were saying, that a lot of these larger buildings
were created entirely for defense and then secondarily for status.
The Tower London, for us playing along at home, is
about eighty nine feet tall, and that used to be

a big deal historically. Yeah, not to sound like a jerk,
The Tower of London is a compound. It is impressive,
It is historically significant. They are perhaps most famous nowadays
for the infamous at times non consensual residents of the tower,
and of course the ravens.

Speaker 2 (10:22):
Of course, I mean oftentimes those non consential residents were
big time you know, political dissidents, prisoners, and again they
were high profile prisoners who would probably have people coming
for them to rescue them, right or to help stage
their grand escape, which would be very difficult to do

in such a vertical prison as that.

Speaker 1 (10:45):
And so for most of this period of history, all
these folks were trying to build the biggest, the tallest
structure ever and they never topped the Great Pyramid for
four thousand years, around about four thousand years, it was
the tallest thing humans had ever made. The record was

only broken in the thirteen hundreds with the construction of
Lincoln Cathedral, which is almost five hundred and twenty five
feet tall or one hundred and sixty meters for everybody
outside of the US and Namibia.

Speaker 2 (11:25):
Well, I mean, you know, with this this close to
the construction of the Great Pyramids, you started seeing it
being overstepped by kind of very small orders of magnitude, right, yeah, yeah, now.

Speaker 1 (11:40):
This technology would allow, right yeah, Just so now we're
seeing now we're seeing something similar to setting Olympic records. Right,
people are beating each other in very small increments.

Speaker 2 (11:54):
And we're back to that now because it's got we
once again come full circle almost where much high you're
gonna start having logistical problems where things are going to
collapse under their own weight, right for sure.

Speaker 1 (12:07):
We also in full disclosure, folks, we're wondering whether this
will be a two part episode. But whether it's one
part or two parts, I pose the following question, should
an antenna count toward the height of the tallest skyscraper?
That's obviously where we're going, But Samon, no, absolutely not.

Speaker 2 (12:30):
I think I think no, I think it's a bit
of a cheat, a bit of a lazy move there. Yeah,
I am tempted to agree. So a burrito is not
a sandwich. What about hot dog tbd?

Speaker 3 (12:46):
Yeah, that one's hard. I mean, I think it's kind
of just its own thing. But I mean it is
meet between two pieces of bread, but the bread is combined,
so who.

Speaker 2 (12:53):
Knows it's joined together on one side, open on the other.
Whereas to me, I think a wrap should be a
categor glory of edible confection. I mean, I guess that's redundant.
Confection is inherently edible, so we also have uh. But
the the lore like a seared slaughterfish, though, did you

make that in a wrap? That'd be good?

Speaker 1 (13:17):
The lore of food in Skyrim is amazing. One time
I spent an entire weekend just cooking in that game.

Speaker 2 (13:24):
You know, it's funny. I've been balancing my time between
Skyrim and Fallout four and the food game and Fallout
four is not very appetizing, especially when compared to Skyrim,
which you can you know, you can make some tasty
stuff in Skyrim, but you're you're you're lucky if the
food in Fallout doesn't give you rad poisoning.

Speaker 1 (13:41):
It's so weird that the one like one of the
most rare things in Skyrim is milk.

Speaker 3 (13:46):
I mean, no, you don't want to eat some grilled
rad roach. Nah man giant cocky retail so good?

Speaker 1 (13:53):
Uh So, everybody right in and when you give us
a review, please say you enjoy the tangents.

Speaker 2 (14:01):
Will tell us what your favorite RPG recipes are. There
we go. I like that.

Speaker 1 (14:12):
We also know that people were just trying to get higher.
Like if you go to Tibet you see the palace
of the Dhali Lama, which is built high up in
the mountains. You see in Grecian culture, the monasteries of Athos.
In each of those cases, they weren't trying to make
the tallest building. They were trying to build a building

in the tallest or the highest place so that they
could get as close to Heaven as possible. It's crazy ambitious.
That's where the idea of skyscrapers comes from. I mean,
if we want to learn about the origin of the
modern skyscraper today, which are in all major cities, then

we have to head back to the eighteen hundreds.

Speaker 2 (14:59):
Yeah, we have to buy over to Britannica, who said
that the increase in urban commerce in the United States
and the second half of the nineteenth century augmented the
need for city business space, and the installation of the
first safe passenger elevator in the how It department store
in New York City in eighteen fifty seven made practical
the erection of buildings more than four or five stories tall.

The earliest skyscrapers rested on extremely thick masonry. They were chunky,
but donkeys.

Speaker 1 (15:31):
Yeah, because they read into some problems of material science. Right.
You see a pyramid and you realize the shape of
a pyramid is entirely due to the fact that every
single brick is carrying the weight of every other brick
atop it. So you have to build this masonry extremely

thick so that you can have a third, fourth, or
fifth floor.

Speaker 2 (15:58):
It's the foundation that everything's builts on. And you know,
foundations are obviously still important in modern skyscrapers. But one
thing anyone who's been up in one of these things
will notice is that they kind of sway. It's weird.
They're built to be flexible because they are their center
of gravity is such that, you know, if they are

completely rigid, a little stiff breeze could cause some real,
you know, fun functional problems. So they are built to
kind of flex. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (16:29):
Yeah, And in some parts of the world, Japan in particular,
architects figured out how to build skyscrapers that will shift
on their foundation a little bit during earthquakes.

Speaker 2 (16:41):
That's part of it. I'm sorry, Yeah, I should have
mentioned earthquakes. For sure. It's much less about the breeze
blowing over your building than it is about these kind
of geologic events, because you know, a little tremor if
a building is super rigid, that's gonna be bad times.
You got to go with the flow. But it is
a little unnerving to feel that if you're up in

the tippy tippy top of one of these things and
you you do kind of get the sense that you're
swaying a little bit, and they can feel a little
spooky at the top.

Speaker 1 (17:11):
It's like being on a boat, right, And then you
get back down to the surface and you think, is
the world moving or am I dizzy?

Speaker 2 (17:20):

Speaker 1 (17:21):
We also have to know this entire origin of modern skyscrapers.
You know, for like several thousand years, people were doing
their best and everything kept falling down over time except
for the Great Pyramids. And then the origin of the

modern skyscraper really goes back to one. Dude, he had
a weird day, he went kind of nuts. He changed
the course of architecture.

Speaker 2 (17:52):
And then how it goes. Yes, yeah, I guess so yeah,
New York minute, everything can change.

Speaker 1 (18:00):
New York minute, a Chicago second. It's between eighteen eighty
four nineteen forty five. The skyscraper boom begins in eighteen
eighty five when a guy named William le Baron Jenny
has his dream come true the Home Insurance Building in Chicago.

Speaker 2 (18:18):
What a get the Home Insurance Building? Yeah? Yeah, it
was a big, big name.

Speaker 1 (18:24):
Yeah, yeah it was. It was ten stories tall and
its construction used metal in place of masonry. And then
a few years later, in eighteen ninety, they added two
more stories. They figured out the math and they were like, well,
we can make it two stories taller, and they you know,

it ended up being twelve stories tall. It was also
an insurance building, as you pointed out, so it's very
important to the companies involved to make it look, you know, reliable,
because if you're an insurance company and your headquarters Topples,
should you be insuring homes?

Speaker 2 (19:05):
Are you ensuring yourself? That's going to be a pretty
serious claim, you know, It's funny too, how skyscrapers, you
know that kind of dot these urban skylines serve as
these kind of flagship locations for these giant companies and
also kind of billboards for them. You know, that's a

big part of it too, is people are competing for
you know, eyeballs. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19:32):
Yeah, like you pointed out the Sears tower, like Max
said earlier, the Bank of America building, these things are
very much advertisements, incredibly important, incredibly expensive advertisements. Apparently the
story is this the origin of modern skyscraper technology dates

to this time when our guy, Jenny, an engineer, he
was looking at his wife who placed a heavy book
on top of a small bird cage, and he was
surprised that this small metal bird cage supported such a
heavy toe.

Speaker 2 (20:15):

Speaker 1 (20:15):
He was also, by the way, the a classmate of
Gustave Eiffel, the guy who built the Eiffel.

Speaker 2 (20:21):
Tower, heard of him. Yeah, so that makes sense because
I guess the kind of configuration of the way the
bent kind of metal times, I guess, in the structure
of a bird cage not that dissimilar from the kind
of metal girders that support the frames of modern skyscrapers.

Speaker 1 (20:42):
Yeah, It's all about weight distribution, is it not. And
it seems like I Felt was also super into this
idea because he would later build the Eiffel Tower. Essentially,
our buddy Jenny saw this bird cage supporting a heavy
book and he thought the most American thing ever.

Speaker 2 (21:02):
He thought, hell yeah, but bigger, ah yeah, supersized right, supercisely. Indeed,
some other factors played a little bit of a role
in the development of the modern skyscrapers. Natural disasters, or
I guess you know, man made perhaps in this case,
the Chicago Fire. The Great Chicago Fire burned more than

three square miles of what at the time was a
mostly wooden part of the city in eighteen seventy one.
I mean things were you know, I think that's a
lot of times how wooden structures or entirely wooden structures
got phased out. It is usually due to them catching
on fire and burning to ash and then thinking there

must be a better way. So there was a bit
of a golden if kind of pyric opportunity to build
more durable buildings. Oftentimes we see innovation come from great
moments of destruction, much like the way Japan had two
major cities destroyed by atomic bombs wielded by the Americans

of course, or I guess the Allies, and it gave
them this opportunity, you know, through hallacious suffering and misfortune
and destruction to rebuild in an image that they were
able to kind of choose right, and it really bred
all of this insane innovation, and we to this day
looked to Japan as kind of these leaders in futuristic everything, technology, architecture, ideas, toilets. Dude,

I recently became a cost Co member and they sell
those Toto washlets there for a very deep discount. Only
issue is I got to get an outlet installed next
to my toilet, so that's got to come first. But boy,
oh boy, am I looking forward to that circular stream
that you can and it can be cool. It can
be it can go clockwise counterclockwise. The world is your oyster.

Everybody check out episode on bidets. Japan, as we know,
is pooping in the future. There's not a better way
to say it. We also know to your point about
disaster creating opportunity for innovation, we know that Chicago and
the northern part of the United States in general was

benefiting from the post Civil War economy, right, there was
a great northern migration. There were tons of jobs.

Speaker 1 (23:31):
There was a lot of demand for industry because you know,
the lower half of the country collapsed. And so let's
go to an excellent article by The Guardian called the
World's First Skyscraper. A History of Cities in fifty Buildings,
Day nine. Spoiler, folks, it's a series. The journalist is

named Colin Marshall, and we especially loved this quote. Colin writes,
for obvious reasons, when the New York Home Insurance Company
wanted a new Chicago headquarters in the city's cleared out
kay burned down downtown, they wanted this fire proofed, but
they also wanted it tall, with a maximum number of

small offices above the bank floor. And so Jenny does
a pitch, and this guy's pitch is pretty innovative. He says, Look,
I saw this bird cage one time and it held
a heavy book, so I kind of want to do that.
But with your huge building also sold, someone said sold.

But then, as we'll see, people were a little skeptical
because this had not been done before. It wouldn't have
to have all that thick masonry. I mean they put
stonework around the metal structure like an exoskeleton. This was
sort of a science experiment.

Speaker 2 (25:04):
Well that's the thing I'm always interested about, like early
days of this type of insane architectural innovation, before the
advent of like computer modeling, right, yeah, autocat, and also
to test, you know, and model in like a computer environment,
the types of tolerances that are needed, you know, to

make sure those things can flex and bend and do
what they need to do. A lot of this, I mean,
of course, architecture was a long practiced you know field
at this point, and then a lot of improvements and
innovations have been made, but not the kind that I'm
talking about. So there was a lot of kind of like, well,
let's just build it and see what happens, right, right, right.

I mean I think I'm grossly oversimplifying here, but there
certainly was not the same you know assurance that we
might have today of what how material is going to
behave in the wild? Yeah, in the field.

Speaker 1 (26:06):
This building, according to Jenny's plans, it would not have
to get thicker and darker and stuffier in order to
achieve maximum height. In fact, it weighed far less than
a similar building made entirely of stone would have weighed
because it used iron and it used steel. And to

your point, now, there were skeptics in the planning stages,
and Jenny's a bit ballsy about this. One member of
the planning committee said, well, your ideas intriguing. Would we
see the evidence of an earlier structure that proves this

idea will work? Where is there such a building, they asked,
and he was like, well, this is going to be
the first one.

Speaker 2 (26:57):
Yeah, nowhere is where? So there really is sort of
a leap of faith inherent in this whole affair. You know,
the skepticism was very valid because there was really no
there were no examples, you know, in the wild to
look to. So once ippened, then I guess they just
decided to go with God and put their trust in Jenny.

And so after construction began, the Home Insurance Company and
the City of Chicago actually kind of got cold feet
after the fact, and they temporarily shut down the project
in order to do a little bit more investigation as
to whether the building could actually stand up on its own.
Kind of think that that might have been something they

would have done before breaking ground, but it was a
different time. You know, like a scale model.

Speaker 1 (27:46):
I love, love, love, I do too the scale models
of anything. I'm a sucker for them. I think one
of our mutually favorite parts of the film Hereditary was
the almost the scale model instruction.

Speaker 2 (28:01):
And you know, in the development here in Atlanta where
we used to have our offices Pont City Market, we
talked about this down in the food hall or in
kind of one of the atriums. When you walk in,
they do have scale models or the whole development. And
I guess today that's more of a nostalgic thing to
kind of, you know, for a show piece. I don't

think they're necessarily relying on it and the way they
would have back in the day. But it's a good question, Ben,
because you can to a degree model some of this
stuff by just building it at a much smaller scale,
you know, sort of like making a cake recipe that's
only for two servings versus like, you know, a giant cake.
Can you do that? Sure you can't. Well, you just

have the ingredients. I'm just saying, like, you know, if
it's just the theory, well ratio, So in theory, if
you're like making a recipe and you make like a
single serve. Maybe cake's a bad example, but like a
single serving of let's say, chicken pad tie, you can just,
you know, multiply all of those ingredients by an order
of magnitude to get a massive, scaled amount of that dish.

In theory, you can do the same thing with construction, right. Yeah,
And if the small one tastes good and you follow
the same order of operations and you multiply it by
the same factors, then in theory, the big one should
taste exactly the same, but just be way, way, way
more of it. Again, not an architect grossly oversimplifying here,
but I think that sort of holds water.

Speaker 1 (29:28):
Hey, I learned something new today. I cannot believe that
I just now have been taught the idea of cooking
what I'll call lonely cake.

Speaker 2 (29:40):
Lonely cake. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know if
there's a pan that's designed for just making a single
slice of cake. But you certainly could make a smaller
version of a of a cake.

Speaker 1 (29:51):
And we also know that cupcakes exist. Okay, there's no
reason to post that at us, because that's that's what
it is, right, is a cupcake only a lonely cake?

Speaker 2 (30:03):
Absolutely. It is. You could theoretically make a single cupcake
if you wished, if you did the math right.

Speaker 1 (30:09):
Right, Yeah, And so that's what they're arguing. The City
of Chicago and the Home insurance Company, weirdly enough, based
in New York, they halt this project, as you said,
because they want to figure out whether the math will
work before they get too into the weeds. So our

engineer here, Jenny, he does a plot twist. He has
another great realization. He is building this structure based on
an iron frame, and he says, hang on, there's a
new metal in town.

Speaker 2 (30:50):
It's called steal steal. Yeah. Even the name just kind
of fills you with grandeur, doesn't it. I don't know
why steal yourselves against the steel. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (31:03):
Thanks to the Bessemer process, the Carnegie Phipps Steel Company
of Pittsburgh is able to help him build this skyscraper
not of iron but of steel. And this sounds like
a really cool idea to us in twenty twenty four.
But the City of Chicago and the Home insurance company

they freaked out again. They said, what what's this new?

Speaker 2 (31:30):
What's this new thing? What is this that you're twisting
us with?

Speaker 1 (31:36):
It's a it leads us to something very weird, a
moment in time that repeats. You can read a Life
magazine retrospective on the origins of skyscrapers. It was published
in nineteen sixty two and it talks in depth about
how quote an aroused critic terrified his fellows at a

protest meeting by impersonating the writhings of a steel beam
exposed to a sudden change of temperature.

Speaker 2 (32:08):
Okay, a lot to unpacked there, An aroused critic impersonated,
it's like did an impression of a steel beam, presumably
by writhing around. Wiggly guys. Yeah, they're called the wiggly guys. No,
I think we actually determined on the show in real

time that they are, in fact or were called sky dancers. Oh,
they were designed for the Atlanta Olympics, so we got
like a skin in the game as far as the
wiggly guys are concerned. But to me, they will always
be the wiggly guys. M yeah, I've never seen them
not wiggling. Well, if they're deflated, they're just real sad.

Nothing sadder than a deflated wiggly guy or a deflated
bouncy castle. It's just it just represents sadness and despair
and disappoint you know, squandered opportunity.

Speaker 1 (33:02):
I can deal with a deflated sky dancer or wiglymen,
but I cannot. I cannot conscience a deflated bouncy castle
or bouncy house.

Speaker 2 (33:14):
It just means the party's over, y'all, It's time to
go home.

Speaker 1 (33:17):
I feel like that. I means your parents are getting
divorced or something. It's ill omen.

Speaker 2 (33:22):
What I think so too. I think so too, especially
a whole gaggle of bouncy houses. If you've been to
like a festival, you know, a funfair, and then you
know the day is over when all of a sudden
they all just start slowly shrieked. To actually watch them
deflate is even sadder than it just coming upon them
already fully deflate. Oh agreed, It's like the wicked Witch

of the West. I don't want to think about this.
I know, let's move on pressing. It is sad.

Speaker 1 (33:48):
But also this guy in the early days of the
Home Insurance building, the first modern skyscraper there in Chicago,
this guy really was doing a wigliman, And say, what
happens if this strange material steel is exposed to very
hot or very cold temperatures. History would go on to

prove this joke did not age well, like.

Speaker 2 (34:15):
Jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams. Is that the expression
of thought made it rhyme more rights, Yeah, did not
particularly age well really quickly. The best simmer process. This
is news to me. I actually spent some of my
youth in Alabama, in Birmingham, Alabama, which is a big
forge city, a big steel production city, And there is

a city in Alabama named Bessemer, and I did not
realize that that is where this came from. So you
learned something, We learned something together, and I believe the
best process is much like again neither a architect nor
a metallurgist, but it's sort of the equivalent of like
ameliorating steel or tempering you know when you see you know,

folks forging sol words or weaponry and they're like pounding
it and they're heating it and cooling it. It's a
way of like strengthening it, hardening the material. If I'm
not mistaken. Yeah, harder, faster, stronger. Is that the song?
Isn't there a song that goes harder faster? Yeah, it's
a it's a daft punk song.

Speaker 1 (35:18):
Okay, all right, well we've got our fingers on the pulse,
and it turns out that Jenny was correct in his
mad plan to build the most phallic looking building. WHOA,
hold the phone, Wait, hold the elevator, hold that door.
This is a two part episode.

Speaker 2 (35:39):
There was just too much fun stuff to get into
regarding the history of skyscapers. And you know, well, I'm
sure people died in the pursuit of these obnoxiously ostentatious structures.
I say obnoxiously. I think we're all fans. We didn't, really,
this wasn't a very death rich episode.

Speaker 1 (35:54):
No we we skipped over the part where the engineers
were accused of spin in the face of God.

Speaker 2 (36:01):
Well we touched on it briefly with the Tower of
Babel and all of that. But yeah, who news skyscrapers,
what a legacy, so huge. Thanks to you Ben for
the research on this one. Looking forward to getting into
parts two with you very soon.

Speaker 1 (36:18):
Yes, yes, Thanks to super producer mister Max Williams. Thanks
to Jonathan Strickly aka the Quizitor. Thanks to Eaves, Jeffco, Christophrasiotis,
Alex Williams who composed this bang it.

Speaker 2 (36:31):
Soundtrack Poppin' and banging. Indeed, we'll see you next time, folks.
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