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Eiffel Tower Opens

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On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

READ MORE: 10 Things You May Not Know About the Eiffel Tower

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.


The Eiffel Tower Opens For The World Exposition In Paris

Today on March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower officially opened for the World Exposition after two years of construction.

The Eiffel Tower was named after its master engineer, Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the now iconic structure. The French government commissioned the tower to be the centerpiece of the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World Fair) held in Paris — a commemoration to the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution. On January 28, 1887, construction officially began, and more than 150 metal workers were recruited to cast the tower's 18,038 pieces. The rapid construction period lasted a total of two years, two months, and five days. Once finished, it surpassed the Washington Monument to become the world's tallest structure — a record it held for more than forty-one years.

Interestingly, the city of Paris never intended for the Eiffel Tower to be a permanent fixture, but rather, it was to be dismantled ten years after the expo. Situated on Champ de Mars, the massive wrought iron lattice tower continues to dominate the French capital. As of 2020, it still remains as the city’s tallest structure. Today, it is a leading tourist attraction in France and the most-visited paid monument in the world. The Eiffel Tower reaches an impressive height of 324 meters.

Before its construction, many leading intellectuals and artists criticized the Eiffel Tower for its lifeless design. A Committee of Three Hundred — one member to represent each of the tower's 300 meters — was formed to protest against the project formally. Spearheaded by Charles Carnier, a prominent architect, the committee released a public petition known as the Artist against the tower. The group sent a letter to the Minister of Works and the Commissioner of the Exposition, but it fell on deaf ears. Their protest was mostly in vain as construction largely proceeded as planned.

"My tower will be the tallest edifice ever erected by man. Will it not also be grandiose in its way? And why would something admirable in Egypt become hideous and ridiculous in Paris?" — Gustave Eiffel comparing his tower to the Egyptian Pyramids

Despite initial resistance, the Eiffel Tower has since become one of the world's most recognizable architectural structures. At 2:35 pm on the opening day, government officials hoisted a large tricolour flag to the accompaniment of a 25-gun salute. Gustave Eiffel then took government officials and members of the press up the tower for a tour. Since the lifts weren't in operation yet, the group ascended the tower on foot. The 1,710 step climb took about an hour to complete. Gustave invited many celebrities and influential people, including the Prince of Wales and Thomas Edison. By the end of the exposition, nearly two million people had visited the Eiffel Tower. Today, an estimated seven million tourists flock to the site every year.


Contents

Origin

The design of the Eiffel Tower is attributed to Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers working for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel. It was envisioned after discussion about a suitable centrepiece for the proposed 1889 Exposition Universelle, a world's fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. Eiffel openly acknowledged that inspiration for a tower came from the Latting Observatory built in New York City in 1853. [4] In May 1884, working at home, Koechlin made a sketch of their idea, described by him as "a great pylon, consisting of four lattice girders standing apart at the base and coming together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals". [5] Eiffel initially showed little enthusiasm, but he did approve further study, and the two engineers then asked Stephen Sauvestre, the head of company's architectural department, to contribute to the design. Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base of the tower, a glass pavilion to the first level, and other embellishments.

The new version gained Eiffel's support: he bought the rights to the patent on the design which Koechlin, Nougier, and Sauvestre had taken out, and the design was exhibited at the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in the autumn of 1884 under the company name. On 30 March 1885, Eiffel presented his plans to the Société des Ingénieurs Civils after discussing the technical problems and emphasising the practical uses of the tower, he finished his talk by saying the tower would symbolise:

[n]ot only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France's gratitude. [6]

Little progress was made until 1886, when Jules Grévy was re-elected as president of France and Édouard Lockroy was appointed as minister for trade. A budget for the exposition was passed and, on 1 May, Lockroy announced an alteration to the terms of the open competition being held for a centrepiece to the exposition, which effectively made the selection of Eiffel's design a foregone conclusion, as entries had to include a study for a 300 m (980 ft) four-sided metal tower on the Champ de Mars. [6] (A 300-metre tower was then considered a herculean engineering effort). On 12 May, a commission was set up to examine Eiffel's scheme and its rivals, which, a month later, decided that all the proposals except Eiffel's were either impractical or lacking in details.

After some debate about the exact location of the tower, a contract was signed on 8 January 1887. This was signed by Eiffel acting in his own capacity rather than as the representative of his company, and granted him 1.5 million francs toward the construction costs: less than a quarter of the estimated 6.5 million francs. Eiffel was to receive all income from the commercial exploitation of the tower during the exhibition and for the next 20 years. He later established a separate company to manage the tower, putting up half the necessary capital himself. [7]

Artists' protest

The proposed tower had been a subject of controversy, drawing criticism from those who did not believe it was feasible and those who objected on artistic grounds. Prior to the Eiffel Tower's construction, no structure had ever been constructed to a height of 300 m or even 200 m for the matter, [8] and many people believed it was impossible. These objections were an expression of a long-standing debate in France about the relationship between architecture and engineering. It came to a head as work began at the Champ de Mars: a "Committee of Three Hundred" (one member for each metre of the tower's height) was formed, led by the prominent architect Charles Garnier and including some of the most important figures of the arts, such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Gounod and Jules Massenet. A petition called "Artists against the Eiffel Tower" was sent to the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, Adolphe Alphand, and it was published by Le Temps on 14 February 1887:

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection … of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower … To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years … we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal. [9]

Gustave Eiffel responded to these criticisms by comparing his tower to the Egyptian pyramids: "My tower will be the tallest edifice ever erected by man. Will it not also be grandiose in its way? And why would something admirable in Egypt become hideous and ridiculous in Paris?" [10] These criticisms were also dealt with by Édouard Lockroy in a letter of support written to Alphand, sardonically saying, [11] "Judging by the stately swell of the rhythms, the beauty of the metaphors, the elegance of its delicate and precise style, one can tell this protest is the result of collaboration of the most famous writers and poets of our time", and he explained that the protest was irrelevant since the project had been decided upon months before, and construction on the tower was already under way.

Indeed, Garnier was a member of the Tower Commission that had examined the various proposals, and had raised no objection. Eiffel was similarly unworried, pointing out to a journalist that it was premature to judge the effect of the tower solely on the basis of the drawings, that the Champ de Mars was distant enough from the monuments mentioned in the protest for there to be little risk of the tower overwhelming them, and putting the aesthetic argument for the tower: "Do not the laws of natural forces always conform to the secret laws of harmony?" [12]

Some of the protesters changed their minds when the tower was built others remained unconvinced. [13] Guy de Maupassant supposedly ate lunch in the tower's restaurant every day because it was the one place in Paris where the tower was not visible. [14]

By 1918, it had become a symbol of Paris and of France after Guillaume Apollinaire wrote a nationalist poem in the shape of the tower (a calligram) to express his feelings about the war against Germany. [15] Today, it is widely considered to be a remarkable piece of structural art, and is often featured in films and literature.

Construction

Work on the foundations started on 28 January 1887. [16] Those for the east and south legs were straightforward, with each leg resting on four 2 m (6.6 ft) concrete slabs, one for each of the principal girders of each leg. The west and north legs, being closer to the river Seine, were more complicated: each slab needed two piles installed by using compressed-air caissons 15 m (49 ft) long and 6 m (20 ft) in diameter driven to a depth of 22 m (72 ft) [17] to support the concrete slabs, which were 6 m (20 ft) thick. Each of these slabs supported a block of limestone with an inclined top to bear a supporting shoe for the ironwork.

Each shoe was anchored to the stonework by a pair of bolts 10 cm (4 in) in diameter and 7.5 m (25 ft) long. The foundations were completed on 30 June, and the erection of the ironwork began. The visible work on-site was complemented by the enormous amount of exacting preparatory work that took place behind the scenes: the drawing office produced 1,700 general drawings and 3,629 detailed drawings of the 18,038 different parts needed. [18] The task of drawing the components was complicated by the complex angles involved in the design and the degree of precision required: the position of rivet holes was specified to within 1 mm (0.04 in) and angles worked out to one second of arc. [19] The finished components, some already riveted together into sub-assemblies, arrived on horse-drawn carts from a factory in the nearby Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret and were first bolted together, with the bolts being replaced with rivets as construction progressed. No drilling or shaping was done on site: if any part did not fit, it was sent back to the factory for alteration. In all, 18,038 pieces were joined together using 2.5 million rivets. [16]

At first, the legs were constructed as cantilevers, but about halfway to the first level construction was paused to create a substantial timber scaffold. This renewed concerns about the structural integrity of the tower, and sensational headlines such as "Eiffel Suicide!" and "Gustave Eiffel Has Gone Mad: He Has Been Confined in an Asylum" appeared in the tabloid press. [20] At this stage, a small "creeper" crane designed to move up the tower was installed in each leg. They made use of the guides for the lifts which were to be fitted in the four legs. The critical stage of joining the legs at the first level was completed by the end of March 1888. [16] Although the metalwork had been prepared with the utmost attention to detail, provision had been made to carry out small adjustments to precisely align the legs hydraulic jacks were fitted to the shoes at the base of each leg, capable of exerting a force of 800 tonnes, and the legs were intentionally constructed at a slightly steeper angle than necessary, being supported by sandboxes on the scaffold. Although construction involved 300 on-site employees, [16] due to Eiffel's safety precautions and the use of movable gangways, guardrails and screens, only one person died. [21]


Eiffel Tower Opens

On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions..


Practice Safe Sex

Since the Eiffel Tower involves more than two people, make sure that everyone is practicing safe sex. Use condoms and take other measures to protect you and your partners from sexually transmitted diseases.

Talk to Your Partner

When involving an additional person to have sex with you and your partner, you need to make sure that everyone is comfortable and consenting to group sex. You should also be prepared to deal with difficult or jealous feelings after.

Whenever engaging in group sex, open and honest lines of communication about how each partner is feeling is very important to ensure everyone participating is safe, healthy, and happy.


50 Fun Facts About Eiffel Tower and History

Eiffel tower has a history that makes it become part of French national heritage. This tower was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 and decades later it has become the symbol of Paris and France especially. When the store was built it was done and meant to be temporal in the Parisian landscape and today it is one of the most favorite landmarks in Paris.

You’ll get to know everything about the history of Eiffel tower Paris on this page.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris has been known to be the core tourism attraction and the most popular tourist place to visit in France for the past 127 years thereby generating huge revenue for the French government.
the Eiffel tower has been known to be the symbol of France after it was built to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the French revolution.

It would interest you to know that this power structure came out of a competition that was organized in order to celebrate this great event. The aim of this structure is to build a tower on the champ de Mars with a square base 30 m high and 125 m wide. Over 107 proposals were submitted officially but Gustave Eiffel’s proposal was chosen. This great feat was not achieved by himself alone but he had the help of professional engineers like Emile Nouguier, Maurice Koechlin, and architect Stephen Sauvestre.

Achieving the incredible structure of the Eiffel tower was not an easy feat because at a particular time there was an uprising against the construction of the structure due to several concerns. at a point in time, there was a letter that was titled “artists against Mr Eiffel’s tower” in the letter they stated that the tower would be a big threat against the beautiful nature of Paris. According to them erecting an iron tower is unacceptable and in contrast to the beauty of the city some even called it “The skeleton of Beffroi”. This means that the gigantic appearance of the structure might disfigure the city.

Eiffel tower construction History

Despite all the uproar that came up in concern of the structure the building still came up and this is the breakup of the construction:

The construction of the Eiffel tower lasted for two years, 2 months, and 5 days (1887-1889).

  • June 1884: this is the beginning of the project and the first drawings was done.
  • January 28th, 1887: The work kicks off
  • April 1st, 1888: The completion of the first stage
  • August 14th, 1888: the completion of the second stage
  • March 31st, 1889: the completion of the third and final stage and that is also the entirety of the project.
  • March 31st, 1889: the inauguration of the eiffel tower. During the inauguration of the tower, Gustave Eiffel climbed 1710 steps to the top of the tower where he placed the tri-colored French flag at its summit. The tower was 313 meters high.

After the establishment of the structure, it was revealed that the licensing rights for the construction of the tower would only last for 20 years which would be followed by imminent destruction however this building had made a huge impact on the French society because over two million people had visited the tour during the universal exposition. it is safe to say that currently the structure is now the symbol of the French industrial power and it is just as successful as the 1900 universal exposition. You know whether to avoid the destruction of the tower after the expiration of the licensing Gustave Eiffel put in great efforts in order to prove the scientific utility of the structure.
the structure underwent scientific experiments which we have conducted using physiology and astronomy but what made the structure very useful was it used as a radio antenna tower and this was being used for military communications then permanently used for communications in radiotelegraphy. this tour was greatly utilised during the First World war and it could be said to be a very crucial part of the French history.

Design 18,038 metallic parts
5,300 workshop designs
50 engineers and designers
Construction 150 workers in the Levallois-Perret factory
Between 150 and 300 workers on the construction site
2,500,000 rivets
7,300 tonnes of iron
60 tonnes of paint
5 lifts
Duration 2 years, 2 months and 5 days of construction

On a yearly basis, over 7 million visitors climb the Eiffel tower. It is now really difficult to imagine Paris without the Eiffel tower.

The Eiffel tower is currently known to be the most visited attraction in Paris and even the rest of the world.

Eiffel Tower Fun Facts

Here are amazing facts about the Eiffel tower:

1. From March 31, 1889, until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930, the tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years.

2. It stands 324 meters tall and weighs 10,100 tons (including antennas).

3. Before the building of a military transmitter in the town of Saissac in 1973, it was France’s tallest tower. The Millau Viaduct, which opened in 2004, is 343 meters long.

4. Climbing to the top is possible, but there are 1,665 steps. The majority of people use the elevator.

5. The lifts cover a total distance of 103,000 kilometers per year, which is almost twice the diameter of the Earth.

6. On two occasions, con artist Victor Lustig “sold” the tower for scrap metal.

7. The tower shrinks by about six inches in the winter.

8. Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s engineer and architect, was also involved in a failed French effort to construct a canal in Panama, and his reputation suffered as a result of the fiasco.

9. The interior of the Statue of Liberty was designed by Eiffel.

10. Beethoven’s 5th symphony was playing when he died.

More than 250 million people have visited the tower since it first opened.

12. Today, the tower attracts almost 7 million visitors a year, making it the world’s most visited paid-for landmark.

13. It took two years, two months, and five days to construct, which is 180 years less than Notre Dame, Paris’s other main attraction.

14. The tower’s lift cables were cut during the German occupation, and the tower was closed to the public. After that, Nazi soldiers tried to affix a swastika to the top, but it blew away and had to be replaced with a smaller one.
15. When the Allies invaded Paris in 1944, Hitler directed Dietrich von Choltitz, the city’s military governor, to demolish the tower and other parts of the city. The general turned down the offer.

16. It takes 60 tonnes of paint to repaint the tower every seven years, which happens every seven years.

17. The tower was the centerpiece of the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in 1889, which commemorated the French Revolution’s centennial.

18. Sir John Bickerstaffe, Mayor of Blackpool, was one of the attendees at the 1889 World’s Fair. He was so taken with the new attraction that he had a version constructed on the English seafront.

19. A View to a Kill, a Bond film from 1985, features the tower. There’s a fight in the stairwell and a scene in the Jules Verne restaurant.

20. In the Beatles song I Am the Walrus, Semolina Pilchard scales the Eiffel Tower.

21. There are many other replicas around the world, including one in Las Vegas and another in Shenzhen, China’s Window of the World theme park.

22. In 1914, the tower was instrumental in the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne. One of its transmitters disrupted German radio communications, preventing them from moving forward.

23. It was supposed to be demolished after 20 years, but its use as a wireless telegraph transmitter (in cases like the one above) meant it was allowed to remain.

24. Between 1925 and 1934, French car maker Citroen used the tower as a giant billboard, with the company logo emblazoned on the tower using a quarter of a million light bulbs, and the Guinness Book of Records declared it the world’s largest advertising.

25. In 2008, an object fetishist married the Eiffel Tower, renaming herself Erika La Tour Eiffel in honor of her “partner.”

26. The tower is made up of 18,000 metal pieces connected by 2.5 million rivets.

27. The British Virgin Islands issued a special tower-shaped $10 coin to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower’s completion.

28. A number of pilots have flown an aircraft under the tower’s arches. After a failed attempt in 1926, Leon Collet was killed.

29. In the storm, the tower sways between six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches).

30. Gustave Eiffel kept a tiny third-floor apartment for entertaining guests. It is now open to the general public.

31. Margaret Thatcher’s nickname for the Eiffel Tower is La Dame de Fer (“The Iron Lady”).

32. In 1960, Charles de Gaulle suggested deconstructing the tower and transporting it to Montreal for Expo 67. The proposal was turned down.

33. The names of 72 architects, scientists, and mathematicians who contributed to the tower’s construction are etched on its side.

34. In the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, an airstrike destroys the tower.

35. The Eiffel Tower has 20,000 lightbulbs that make it sparkle every night.

36. Have you ever desired to build your own Eiffel Tower? There is a LEGO set for that – 10181. (it contains 3,428 bricks).

37. The cost of taking the lift to the roof is €19.

38. The majority of tourists (10.4 percent) are French, followed by Italy and Spain (8.1 percent each), the United States (7.9%), the United Kingdom (7.4%), Germany (5.8%), and Brazil (5.8%). (5.5 percent ).

39. A local newspaper organized a stair climbing competition at the tower in 1905. A M.Forestier was the winner, reaching the second stage in three minutes and 12 seconds.

40. In 1923, Pierre Labric cycled down the tower’s stairwell. While he won a bet, he was arrested by local cops.

41. If there was any justice in naming it, it would have been named the Koechlin-Nouguier Tower, after the two engineers who came up with the concept in the first place. Of course, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “Eiffel Tower”!

42. The building of the tower took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days.

43. The Eiffel Tower is approximately 10,000,000 kilograms (22 million pounds) in weight.

44. The Eiffel Tower was almost twice as tall as the building it replaced for the title of world’s tallest when it was completed. The Washington Monument stands at 172 meters and the Eiffel Tower stands at 300 meters.
However, the Eiffel Tower was only the world’s tallest structure for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building surpassed it in 1930.

45. The Eiffel Tower is now 324 meters tall, equal to an 81-story building, due to the addition of radio towers on top.

46. The Eiffel Tower is painted with 50,000 kilograms (110 tons) of paint.

47. The tower is painted in three different shades of color to give it the proper perspective from the ground — so that it “looks” the same from the top as it does from the bottom.

48. The Eiffel Tower is repainted every few years. It has been repainted 18 times as of 2020, one every six to seven years.

49. The golden-brown hue of the Iron Lady hasn’t always been the case. She was painted yellow for the 1900 Universal Exposition.

50. During the building of the tower, 2,500,000 rivets were used.

51. The highest level, Level Three, has over 1,700 levels. (Fortunately, you can no longer walk up them, but you can walk to the second floor, which is just 700 steps!)

52. The first stage is 57 meters high, the second is 115 meters, and the third is 274 meters. (190, 380, and 900 feet, respectively.)


Construction Begins On The World Famous Eiffel Tower

Today on January 28, 1887, construction begins on the Eiffel Tower, one of the world's most recognizable structures.

The Eiffel Tower was named after its master engineer, Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built this iconic structure. Situated on Champ de Mars, the massive wrought iron lattice tower dominates the French capital city. At the time, many of the country's leading intellectuals and architects criticized the Tower for its lifeless design. However, it has since become one of the most famous and recognizable architectural icons of the world. Today, it is a leading tourist attraction in France and the most-visited paid monument in the world. The Eiffel Tower reaches an impressive height of 324 meters. As of 2020, it remains the tallest structure in Paris. Once completed in 1889, it officially surpassed the Washington Monument to become the world's tallest structure. It held that title for 41 years before being surpassed by New York's Chrysler Building in 1930.

The Eiffel Tower was commissioned to be the centerpiece of the 1889 World Fair held in Paris. Marking the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution, it was a particularly special celebration for the French people. Interestingly, city planners did not originally intend for the Tower to be a permanent fixture. But instead, city planners planned to dismantle the structure ten years after the expo. More than fifty engineers and architects designed and supervised its construction. The Levallois-Perret metal factory employed over 150 workers to manufacture the Tower's 18,038 metallic parts. At any given time, there between 150 to 300 builders on-site assembling the Eiffel Tower. The construction period lasted a total of two years, two months, and five days.

City officials never followed through with dismantling the Eiffel Tower after it's top was outfitted with several antennas. These antennas proved critical for transmitting wireless signals and broadcasts around the world. In 1940, the Nazis rapidly invaded France and captured Paris. Prior to their arrival, local Parisians secretly cut the Tower's elevator cables, forcing Hitler and his entourage to climb the stairs. The Eiffel Tower was initially designed for Barcelona, but city planners later rejected the idea. In 2007, a woman named Erika apparently married the Tower. Today, there are more than thirty replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world, with seven million people ascending the real Tower every year.


The Origin of the Eiffel Tower

Believe it or not, the Eiffel Tower was originally supposed to be in Barcelona. But thinking the thing would end up looking like an eyesore, the city rejected Gustave Eiffel's plans, and he was forced to repitch the project elsewhere. Luckily, Eiffel found a home for his idea in Paris, where the Tower could serve as the main archway for the 1889 International Exposition.

Amazingly, the Tower didn't exactly go over well with the Parisians, either. The enormous iron structure was immediately belittled by critics, and one especially harsh reviewer referred to the thing as a "metal asparagus." Truth be told, the Eiffel Tower wasn't supposed to stay up for very long. In fact, it was offered for sale as scrap and was spared only because it proved useful to the French army. (They found that its 984-foot height worked nicely as a communications tower.)

Thankfully, however, Gustave Eiffel's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad structure has managed to endure the structure received its 200 millionth visitor in 2002, and has become one of the most recognizable man-made landmarks the world over.

This piece was written by Maggie Koerth-Baker and excerpted from the mental_floss book In the Beginning: The Origins of Everything.


From the Second World War to the Renovation (1945-1980)

Progress in broadcasting

After the Second World War, progress was resumed and wireless communications experiments continued. It should be noted that the Germans had left on the Eiffel Tower a Telefunken transmitter named "Fernsehsender Paris", which means "TV channel of Paris". This transmitter broadcast in 441 lines what was important for the time. It will be replaced following a fire by another more efficient one of 819 lines, then by a new one after the end of the diffusion of TF1 in black and white. Finally, in 2005, a new transmitter was born, that of terrestrial digital television (DTT).

The Eiffel Tower was of great importance, a radio-television issue. Thus in 1953 the first broadcast in Eurovision, the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II, was broadcast on air.

In parallel with the improvement of the techniques and therefore of the broadcast equipment, the antennas are also progressing. The Eiffel Tower receives in 1959 a new antenna that raises its size to 318.70m. It will be replaced in the year 2000 by another more efficient, and higher also, the tower passing to 324m high (current height).

Changes to the tower

During this period the Eiffel Tower did not really evolve. In 1952 it received an aeronautical beacon light that replaces that of Mount Valérien, destroyed during the war. It had an immense range, up to 300Kms.

The renovation of 1980

1980, it is also the year of the renovation of the tower. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, which the Americans never really knew how to maintain, the Eiffel Tower has always been carefully maintained. The planning of the painting was perfectly followed, with the notable exception of the period of the First World War, where it took another three years. But nearly a century later, the tower could be analyzed and modified, because the initial calculations of Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, the designers, were perfectible with modern means. Thus, the structure was relieved of 1340 tons by removing many unnecessary girders, and the staircases and lifts which had become obsolete were replaced. Finally, security features were added to deal with the explosion of tourists, the 1980s corresponding to the beginnings of mass tourism in Europe. Moreover the oldest still remember the protective grilles of before the 80s, rather low. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to climb them, even when climbing the stairs. In addition to these works, the painters painted the names of the scholars who went around the first floor, and were masked during the renovations of 1937. The restaurant "Le Jules Verne" is located on the first floor. 'acts as soon as it opens a gourmet restaurant.

This renovation was accompanied by anti-corrosion treatment and a paint campaign covering the entire tower, and finally by the renovation of the lighting system, which will consist for some years of 352 sodium.


From ‘eyesore’ to icon: a brief history of the Eiffel Tower

The wrought-iron lattice Eiffel Tower is now an iconic part of the Paris skyline – but when it was first built in the late 19th century, it faced opposition, with some branding the design an 'eyesore'. Find out more about its construction here, with this guide from BBC History Revealed

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Published: March 31, 2020 at 11:39 am

On 31 March 1889, after two years, two months and five days of construction the world welcomed the newest addition to the Paris skyline: the Eiffel Tower. Its creator, Gustave Eiffel, unfurled the Tricolore on the third level, signalling that the wrought-iron edifice was now open. Lit by 10,000 gas lamps, it was a spectacle unlike anything the world had seen before today it is one of the most visited monuments in the world, welcoming almost seven million people every year.

Out of 107 proposed designs, Eiffel’s tower was chosen to represent the 1889 World’s Fair (the Exposition Universelle), and commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. The fair was to be a showcase of technology and innovation, and it was suggested that a suitably awe-inducing structure be built to demonstrate French technological prowess – and, by virtue of its position on Champ de Mars, serve as a gateway to the exhibition.

DID YOU KNOW? During the Nazi occupation of France, Adolf Hitler called for the Eiffel Tower’s demolition. Thankfully for its fans, the order was not carried out.

Who designed the Eiffel Tower?

The tower was the brainchild of entrepreneur Gustave Eiffel, architect Stephen Sauvestre, and engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier. Eiffel’s reputation preceded him – he owned a metal works business and was the genius behind the steelwork frame of New York’s Statue of Liberty, built three years earlier.

Construction of the Eiffel Tower required 7,300 tonnes of iron, the sweat of more than 300 labourers, and a fleet of steam-powered cranes and hydraulic jacks to manoeuvre the giant girders. Work began in January 1887, and was completed relatively quickly, in just 796 days, a feat that trumpeted French industrial accomplishment as much as the completed tower itself. At 300m high, it immediately entered the records books as the tallest structure in the world, a position it held until the unveiling of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.

At the base of the Eiffel Tower were four wooden pavilions, which housed restaurants to serve visitors to the exposition, each of which could seat 500 people. They are likely to have been very busy indeed, as the Tower received 1,953,122 visitors during the almost six months of that year’s World’s Fair.

What were the first reactions to the Eiffel Tower?

Not everyone was so welcoming of the new structure – many Parisians thought the Tower was an eyesore that clashed with the older, grander architecture of the French capital. Novelist Guy de Maupassant would often eat in one of the restaurants at the base of the Eiffel Tower, as it was the only place he could do so without having to look at it. Along with other Parisian artists and authors, de Maupassant wrote a letter to the city’s government protesting against the construction. Some were also concerned for the safety of those who had to climb to its upper reaches.

But the Tower became much more than a tourist attraction, doubling as a testing ground for serious scientific experiments that proved its wider worth. Gustave Eiffel installed a laboratory within the structure and invited scientists to use it: a version of Foucault’s pendulum was installed to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation, and a wind tunnel was also built beside it. The structure became an astronomical observation point, as well as a beacon and communications post. To symbolically ensure the Tower’s place in science history, Eiffel had the names of 72 scientists, mathematicians and engineers engraved into the Tower’s arches during construction.

Initial plans for the Eiffel Tower stated that it was only intended to stand for 20 years but, in 1909, it was given the green light to remain. In the intervening two decades it had proven vital in sending wireless telegraph messages around the world. During World War I, the Tower’s radiotelegraphic transmitter was used to intercept enemy communications and even helped uncover the double agent Mata Hari.

Such longevity comes at a price, however. The Eiffel Tower (and the 2.5 million rivets holding it together) have to be repainted every seven years – by hand – and though the 10,000 gas lamps are long gone, 20,000 golden bulbs now illuminate it.

The building of the Eiffel Tower is explored in an episode of Witness History on the BBC World Service.



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