The Smithsonian channel is airing a series of shows titled America in Color, in which they enhance lost or forgotten video footage of the 1900s, beginning with the 1920s. Part of the first episode in the series shows the men that worked on skyscrapers in New York City and it’s been edited to show color, as opposed to black and white, for the first time.
The “Roughnecks,” as the skyscraper ironworkers were known, are shown building NYC’s Chrysler Tower and the Empire State Building with little more than some tools a soft hat; no harnesses, safety lines, or hard hats. They weren’t even granted bathroom breaks. After all, OSHA wasn’t even created for another 5 decades, in the 1970s.
Before you watch the footage and revel in the fact that this was “back when there were real men,” note that research shows that 2 out of 5, or 40%, “roughnecks” were either killed or disabled on these jobs. These men were certainly brave enough to take on this dangerous work, but there’s a good reason why laws are set in place to protect America’s workers today.
According to The Skyscraper Center, there were 6 buildings at least 200 meters tall (656 feet) that were completed in either 1930 or 1931 in New York City alone. The Empire State Building was the tallest of the bunch, topping out at 1,250 feet, followed by the Chrysler building (1,046 feet), the Trump Building (9247 feet), Twenty Exchange (741 feet), 500 Fifth Avenue (697 feet), and One Grand Central Place (673 feet).
If you’d like to check out the full episode on the 1920s, the next airings on the Smithsonian channel are at 3pm on Monday, February 4, 2am on Sunday February 17, and 3pm on Sunday, February 24 or you can stream it for free on their website.
Enjoy the construction specific clip below:
The most popular method of demolition these days is by implosion, but not always welcome in certain areas or situations. The use of explosives can greatly damage neighboring buildings and spread hazardous materials over a large radius, which is why a cooling tower at the Mülheim-Kärlich power plant in Germany had to be slowly dismantled from the top.
Late last year, crane manufacturer, Sarens, announced that their brand new – and enormous – crane, was ready to be sent off to it’s first job. After several months of prep, the Sarens SGC-250 has finally made it onto its intended jobsite and is ready to lift.
After causing devastation in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian worked its way up the U.S. East Coast last week and eventually made its way up to Nova Scotia, Canada as a Category 2 storm. The storm left more than 369,000 without power in the Canadian Region, according to CBC, but also caused a tower crane to buckle and collapse in the city of Halifax.
Unless you work on infrastructure and some other specialty structures, you’ve probably always wondered how underwater structures are built. It’s always admittedly been a bit of a mystery to me, as I only encounter relatively small amounts of water on my retail construction sites. Some dewatering here and there or a small creek relocation can add some difficulty to a project, but they’re manageable.
As large of an industry as the construction industry is and with the amount of characters that I’ve met in my career, I’ve always been surprised at the lack of television programming covering large building projects. The Construction Channel, an online new media company, is taking matters into their own hands and has recently released episodes of a documentary series called “Six Figures, No Suits” (SFNS)
We have featured Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) on Construction Junkie many times, because of one simple fact: they produce high quality and informative videos about their craft. That’s not something many other companies in the construction industry can say – and now it’s paid off for them in the form of a television show.
When you need to demolish a building in a tight downtown setting, you make sure to hire people who have the right experience to do the job. Controlled Demolition, Inc (CDI), was at it again recently, when they shared a video of a recent building implosion in Dallas, TX.
Falls on the jobsite is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in construction. Keeping up with housekeeping on your site is a great way to reduce risks of falls, but other protections, like rebar caps should be installed when rebar is exposed. A young construction worker recently found out the hard way what happens when rebar is left exposed.
Completed in 1976, the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada held the record for the tallest freestanding structure in the world from 1975-2007, until it was supplanted by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. At its highest point, the CN Tower, which is mainly used as a communications and observation tower, reaches 1,815.4 feet (533.33m). Last year, the tower underwent a $16 million renovation and Priestly Demolition shared a fascinating, in-depth video for how they took care of the demolition of the interior space and walls.