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James Bogardus

James Bogardus
Born March 14, 1800
Catskill, New York
Died April 13, 1874
New York City
Known for cast-iron

James Bogardus (March 14, 1800 in Catskill, New York – April 13, 1874 in New York City) was an American inventor and architect, the pioneer of American cast-iron architecture, for which he took out a patent in 1850. In the next two decades he demonstrated the use of cast-iron in the construction of building facades, especially in New York City, where he was based, but also in Washington, DC, where three cast-iron structures erected by Bogardus in 1851 were the first such constructions in the capital. The success of the cast-iron exteriors from 1850-1880 led to the adoption of steel-frame construction for entire buildings.

Bogardus attached plaques to his cast-ironwork that read: "James Bogardus Originator & Patentee of Iron Buildings Pat' May 7, 1850." [1]

Bogardus quit school at the age of fourteen to start an apprenticeship at a watchmaker.

He married Margaret McClay.

A small park in TriBeCa, where Chambers Street, Hudson Street and West Broadway (Manhattan) intersect is named James Bogardus Triangle.


Notable inventions

  • A cotton-spinning machine called a ring flier (1828)
  • A mechanized engraving machine (1831), employed for engraving dies for bank notes
  • The eccentric mill (1832), still used in principle for fine finish of ball bearings, and, with variable eccentricity, for lens grinding.

Bogardus buildings


Buildings still standing

Further reading

  • Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle. Cast-Iron Architecture in America: The Significance of James Bogardus (New York: Norton) 1998.


  1. ^ Streetscapes/75 Murray Street; Bought for Its Site, the Rundown Loft Is a Gem, by CHRISTOPHER GRAY, New York Times, October 30, 1994 [1]


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