SkyscraperThe word skyscraper was originally a nickname for a tall mast on a sailing ship. Today the word is used exclusvely to refer to a tall habitable building, usually higher than 152 metres (500 feet). Until recent times, buildings of over six stories were rare. The development of buildings framed with steel or reinforced concrete has made possible the construction of extremely tall buildings, some of which are over 300 metres tall. The other development essential to practical skyscraper development was the invention of the elevator.