This model was commissioned by the Chicago Historical Society and made by Richard Rush Studios, Inc. in 1963 from plans published in an 1859 book written by William E. Bell.
This open framing model shows how dimensional, kiln-dried wood members spaced evenly along the exterior of the structure framed the building and supported the roof, walls and interior floors.
This is a model of the type of wooden structures that provided affordable and fast housing for Chicago's growing population in the mid-19th century. In Chicago, balloon framing largely replaced traditional timber construction. Balloon frames were constructed using standardized lumber and nails, which could easily join smaller dimensional lumber. The newer construction technique produced cheaper buildings in less time. The wide-spread use of balloon framing helped fuel the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.