History of Metal and Steel Uses in Construction

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History of Metal and Steel Uses in Construction

As your go-to steel supplier in Utah, we at Wasatch Steel are naturally metal history nerds. The uses of metal, and steel specifically, go back centuries within major construction formats, and it’s important to know the path steel has taken toward its modern uses.

How was this path forged? Let’s go back to the very earliest uses of metal in construction, and work our way back to the present.

Metal Framing

As early as the late 1700’s, the construction of buildings with metal frames can be seen in history. This likely began in Great Britain, where there was a search on to find a material for building fireproof mill structures. These would be used to make many agricultural and textile industries vastly more efficient. While the outsides of buildings remained a combination of other materials, the use of metal frames quickly became popular here.

Late 19th Century

By the late 1800’s, the uses of metal had widely expanded. Hundreds of “portable iron houses” had been sold to North American gold rush pioneers, who used these for their treks toward glory. This is also when steel became more popular – the first steel-framed skyscraper in the world had been built by this point, and steel buildings became wildly popular throughout the twentieth century.

World War II Era

In the decades just prior to World War II, huge steel buildings began to be used for storage within the oil industry. These structures were adapted for mobile military shelters during the war, shelters that became known as “Quonset Huts” (named for Quonset Point in Rhode Island, which is where the steel was actually produced).

Modern Uses

In today’s day and age, steel and metal building systems are used for nearly every possible building application. They’re generally split into either arched or straight wall applications for pre-engineered steel, both with specific benefits.

To learn more about the history of steel applications, or to find out about any of our steel services, contact the experts at Wasatch Steel today.