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Article

Margot Gayle

revised by Carol Gayle

(b Badger’s Island, Portsmouth, NH, Oct 15, 1806; d Brooklyn, New York, Nov 17, 1884).

American iron manufacturer and builder in cast iron. Beginning as a blacksmith’s apprentice, he was in Boston by 1830 making decorative wrought ironwork at his own smithy. In 1842 he built Boston’s first example of an iron-fronted shop, a one-storey combination of iron columns and lintels that allowed large glass display windows. The following year he began producing rolling security shutters that fitted into grooves in the iron columns, having bought the patent from Arthur L. Johnson (1800–60). The ‘Badger front’ design was sold and copied across the USA, winning a gold medal at the American Institute Fair (1847).

In 1846 Badger moved to New York City, where he continued to manufacture his ‘fronts’. Soon afterwards he began producing the new form of iron building, commonly called ‘cast-iron architecture’, promoted by James Bogardus: structures with self-supporting, multi-storey exterior iron walls, constructed of cast-iron panels and columns bolted together. From ...

Article

Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle

(b Catskill, NY, March 14, 1800; d New York, April 13, 1874).

American inventor, engineer, designer and manufacturer. He trained as a watchmaker’s apprentice in Catskill, NY, worked as an engraver in Savannah, GA and again in Catskill. About 1830 he moved to New York City to promote his inventions. He secured many patents for various devices, including clocks, an eversharp pencil, a dry gas meter and a meter for measuring fluids. His most remunerative invention was a widely useful grinding mill (first patented 1832), which provided steady income throughout his life. During years spent in England (1836–40) he was granted an English patent for a postage device and won £100 in a competition with his proposal for a pre-paid postal system. He also observed the extensive use of iron in the construction of British factories, bridges and large buildings. After a trip to Italy, he conceived the idea of erecting prefabricated multi-storey structures with cast-iron exterior walls that reproduced Classical and Renaissance architectural styles. Returning to New York in ...

Article

Martha Pollak

(b Nuremberg, Jan 4, 1940).

American architect of German birth. A graduate of the Technische Hochschule in Munich (1965), he pursued architectural studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, where he studied with Myron Goldsmith and Fazlur Khan. Having joined the respected Chicago architectural firm of C. F. Murphy in 1967, he became Principal of the renamed office Murphy/Jahn (1981), then President (1982) and Chief Executive officer (1983). Jahn’s reputation is due to the great number, prominence, and memorable character of his buildings. Using broad references from architectural history and appealing to a public visual memory nurtured on cartoons and Hollywood movies, he made use of a wide range of sources from the recent and distant past for his architectural compositions. Many of his works—eclectic pastiches that unite familiar and exotic elements—overwhelm the surrounding context and baffle the visitor with colour, megalomaniac scale, and effective use of sophisticated American construction techniques. New materials and structural ideas are used by Jahn with a consummate virtuosity that endows his buildings with the dramatic expression, movement, and restrained energy previously reserved for the harnessed power of applied modern science (rockets, nuclear stations). Simultaneously with the scene designers of contemporary science-fiction films, he realized the fantastic architecture projected in the 1920s and 1930s for a ‘brave new world’. This quality and its immediate visual appeal are most evident in the skyscrapers of the 1980s such as the Xerox Centre (...