This article showcases some of the methods and ideas behind early concrete homes built in America.
The United States' first reinforced concrete house, now known as Ward's Castle, was built in Port Chester, New York, in 1875. Imported portland cement was used in a relatively dry mix, compacted by tamping. Reinforcement included 3/8-inch round iron rods and "light" 5-, 6-, 7-, and 8-inch I-beams.
Modular metal forms assembled into a single complex, giant form were used by Thomas Edison to cast a concrete house in 1908. During the single 6-hour pour, concrete was elevated to a distribution tank at roof level, then flowed by gravity to fill the form.
Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's best-known and best-loved designs, was the residence of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar Kaufmann. Begun in 1935, the structure cantilevers over the site's waterfall on Bear Run, instead of overlooking it as the owners originally anticipated.
Towering over the Pennsylvania countryside with the grandeur of an ancient castle, the 27-room concrete house, Fonthill, was built by Henry Chapman Mercer. Beginning work in 1908, Mercer directed unskilled laborers who mixed concrete by hand and hoisted it by a rope and pulley arrangement powered by a single horse.