Brief History of Terracotta panel facade in the USA
Terracotta panel facade was pioneered in the USA from the 1850s with some false starts.
Problemswith stone such as quality, transport costs and shortage of masons led to the drastic solution of importing Terracotta panel facade from UK.
The construction of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1876 required the immigration of skilled potters and provided the expertise for large scale manufacture of Terracotta panel facade in Chicago, New York as well as
Sadly problems with late payments and shipping led to problems for this build
and Blashfield the architect suffered many losses as a result. (Stratton, 1993)
James Taylor is the man who can be credited for successful introduction of Terracotta panel facade
into the US. By 1870 Terracotta panel facade was being accepted by several architects in Chicago
spurred on by the practical concerns resulting after the Fire in 1871.
As listed below; the growth of the use of Terracotta panel facade in USA exploded in Chicago in
1880s due to a combination of the following factors:
1. Heat resistant properties of Terracotta panel facade recognised after the Great Fire of
2. Metal skeleton construction
3. The advent of the elevator