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25 amazing photos of the construction of the Empire State Building

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The photos of the construction of the Empire State Building show the (dangerous) daily life of workers

If you have a fear of heights or dizziness just looking down, surely the construction of the Empire State Building, the world’s tallest building, would not be for you.

Located in New York, more precisely on the famous Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, the Empire State Building was built to be the tallest building in the world and it really was for a long time.

Today it is the fifth tallest in the United States of America and the 31st tallest in the world.

In its construction, safe working conditions were almost non-existent, but that didn’t matter to the workers. Most of them were immigrants who were facing great hardship because of the 1929 US Crisis.

Construction began exactly in 1929 and went on until 1931, an impressive time considering there are 102 floors!

According to official records, 3,400 men worked there at the same time at the height of the peak and, in all, 5 died.

It is very important to point out that at that time it was not mandatory to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), much less any specific protection to work at heights.

The building even set a construction record, as they managed to build an average of 4.5 houses a week.

These photos were taken by American Lewis Hine (1874-1940). Between 1930 and 1931, Hine photographed the work and the workers of the famous building on 5th Avenue.

Going through the same difficulties and the lack of security of workers, Hine made emblematic images that were published in the book Men at Work: Photographic Studies of Modern Men and Machines.

These images of the construction of the Empire State Building are property of the New York Public Library. Look:

Workers during the construction of the Empire State Building

Workers on top of the Empire State Building structure.

Empire State Building Construction Workers

Workers constructing the structure of the building.

Empire State Building under construction with Chrysler Building in the background

Preparation of the concrete for the construction of the Empire State Building.

Bricklayers working without security on the construction of the Empire State Building

Workers on top of the structure safely.

Workers under beams in building construction

Workers on top of pillars and beams watching the view during construction. Building the Empire State Building that would be the tallest building in the world

Comparison of the Empire State Building still under construction with other existing buildings.

Men working on the placement of the steel beam

Installation of the steel beam.

Many immigrants worked on the building works

Types of cranes used to assist in placing the beams.

Fitting the beams

Workers fitting the beams.

Immigrant worker helping to build the structure

Immigrant worker assisting in the construction of the building structure.

Workers building the Empire State Building, with the Chrysler Building in the background

Man fitting beams without safety.

Occupational safety in the construction of the Empire State Building was almost non-existent

Worker hanging on top of beam leaning on pillar.

Work safety in construction was almost non-existent.

man supported

Occupational safety in the construction of the Empire State Building was almost non-existent

Man fitting safety-free beams.

Work safety in construction was almost non-existent.

Construction of the Empire State Building underway.

Work safety on the Empire State Building works was almost non-existent

Worker hanging from the structure without security.

Men working on the construction of the Empire State Building

The workers carrying out the fitting of the pillars.

men working without job security

Men working on the placement of the structure, without any security or protection.

View of the Empire State Building from the Chrysler Building

View of building under construction by Chrysler Building.

First floors of the building under construction

Building skeleton with the first floors already under construction.

Empire State Building under construction, with the base ready

Empire State Building in the construction process.

Empire State Building under construction seen from Chrysler Building

Empire State Building under construction seen from Chrysler Building.

Building the top finishes for the King Kong building

Construction of the top of the building.

Empire State Building at night

Empire State Building seen at night

. View of 34th Street in New York

The Empire State Building seen from 34th Street.

Interested in knowing about other great buildings? We have a great article for you: The tallest buildings in Brazil, check it out, you will be amazed!