We present an investigation about chain/column evolution and the corresponding electrorheological (ER) effect performed with glass/oil ER fluid. Our results demonstrate that once the field applied to the ER fluids surpasses a certain time period, the particles begin aggregating to form chains. These chains then coarsen and eventually form columns in the direction of the external field. We found that different column structures can be obtained depending on how the electric field is applied to the ER fluid. Only a loose column structure can be achieved if a square pulse field is applied to the ER fluid, yet a compact column is formed when the field strength is increased slowly. We have measured the ER effect with a sensitive yield stress testing device as the structure varies. The results indicate that there exist three increasing tendencies of interaction among particles corresponding to three processes of sequential transition between states; they are (1) random spatial configuration to chain, (2) chain to metastable column, and (3) metastable column to stable column.