FBG Project 063 - Appendix
• Source: JDG-1
Frank B. Gilbreth: Fireproofing Expert
In the aftermath of the San Francisco disaster, Frank Gilbreth literally got his hands on the prize by bidding absurdly low on the job of demolishing the top six floors of the Mutual Life building: Cost plus $2,000. Whatever he lost financially in the transaction—and Edna Yost notes that the cost of meticulous dismantling and photographing the condition of the structure exceeded the profit—was outweighed by the value of the information gained. He could have kept the information to himself, and probably did reserve some details and unexpected findings for proprietary use, but almost as soon as he was complete he wrote a long article for Engineering News with photos and some sixteen points of importance. This list of points was reprinted in many of the trade journals and newspapers of the day.
He then spoke on designing fireproof (and quakeproof) buildings many times in the next few years, which did much for his reputation and set aside problems with his lack of formal education and the Roper and McGraw contract problems.
- A typical FBG photo of the building damage. Note that his photo seems to be mislabeled; the only curved corner of the building, and the flagpole, as seen, were in the northwest corner):
- A similar photo (not by FBG) from a book published by Roebling Engineering, with interesting structural discussion but making the same odd directional mistake. The curved corner, the flagpole mast and the windowless wall all indicate this image is of the front, northwest corner, not the rear of the building:
- Engineering News, 1 Jan 1907, full article on analysis of Mutual Life Building damage:
- A typical short reprint of the article, of which there were many, this one from Industrial Magazine, Apr 1907: