Nineteenth-century American inventor and entrepreneur James Bogardus was kwn for his unique grinding mill and other patented devices, but his enduring claim to fame is his cast-iron structures, forerunners of the modern skyscraper. A passionate advocate for iron's strength, ecomy, suitability for ornamentation, and fire resistance, he invented several new methods of construction; his buildings rose from New York to San Francisco and Havana. Modern interest in Bogardus stems from the historic preservation movement; his four surviving buildings, in New York, are recognized landmarks.
Carol Gayle teaches history at Lake Forest College, Illinois. Margot Gayle, a nationally known authority on cast-iron architecture, lives in New York City.