How It's Built: The Eiffel Tower
When you think of Paris, France there is probably one landmark that instantly comes to mind, the Eiffel Tower – otherwise known as, La Tour Eiffel.
Was the Eiffel tower a gift?
One common mistake is that the Eiffel Tower was a gift to France. However, the Tower was built with the purpose of being the centerpiece and main attraction of the World’s Fair in Paris of 1889. The tower was designed to showcase France’s modern mechanical prowess on a world stage and to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. The tower was meant to be torn down after 20 years had passed however, the government decided that the radio antenna and wireless telegraph transmitter in the Tower were too valuable to be destroyed.
What’s at the top of the Eiffel Tower?
The Eiffel Tower has 3 floors each with its own unique atmosphere. The first floor of the Eiffel Tower, 57 meters above the ground, features a transparent glass floor with an interactive show for visitors to walk along and learn about the history of this monument. This floor also features the 58 Tour Eiffel, a restaurant where visitors can enjoy lunch or dinner. 115 meters above the ground, the second floor offers spectacular views of Paris whether it’s with a telescope or the naked eye. On the second level, there is also a gourmet French cuisine restaurant, Le Jules Verne. Finally, the very top level of the Tower, 276 meters above the ground, is the third and final level which is only accessible by lift. Similarly, to the second level, there are telescopes available to view the stunning views of Paris. On this level, there is also an apartment that was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Gustave’s apartment/office has been restored to its original state and can be explored by visitors. Don’t forget to check out the champagne bar if you are visiting the third floor!
Building the Eiffel Tower
Digging work began on January 26th, 1887 and the Tower finished on March 31st, 1889 - record-breaking time - 2years, 2 months, and 5 days. The two chief engineers of Eiffel’s company, Emile Nouguier, and Maurice Koechlin, had the idea of building a very tall tower in 1884. To gain more support and acceptance from the public the two engineers commissioned the architect Stephen Sauvestre to work on the project’s appearance. Sauvestre designed implementing elements such as the large arches at the base of the structure. With the structure being so tall, the curvature of the uprights was mathematically determined to ensure the most efficient wind resistance possible. These uprights rest on concrete foundations which were installed a few meters below ground level on top of a layer of compacted gravel, each corner of the Tower rests on its own block. All the Tower’s elements were prepared offsite in Eiffel’s factory located on the outskirts of Paris, Levallois-Perret. 18,000 were used to construct the Tower, a team of 150 to 300 workers was needed to work on-site assembling all the pieces. All of the metal pieces on the Tower were secured using rivets. To assemble each rivet four men were needed: one heating it up, another holding it in place, a third shaping the head, and a fourth beating it with a sledgehammer. 2,500,000 rivets were used to construct the Tower, a third of which were directly assembled on site. To assemble the Tower itself, construction workers used wooden scaffolding and small stem cranes mounted on the tower itself.
What are 3 facts about the Eiffel tower?
1. The Eiffel Tower Used to be Yellow
When the Eiffel Tower first opened in 1889 it used to be a reddish-brown color until it was coated in yellow paint a decade later. Before the Tower’s current specially mixed “Eiffel Tower Brown” color, it was also once a yellow-brown and a chestnut brown. The Tower is now painted every 7 years, using 60 tons of paint to keep it looking fresh. Three shades are used, and the paint progressively gets lighter with elevation to enhance the Towers silhouette.
2. It was the World’s tallest structure for Four Decades
Before the Eiffel Tower was built, the world’s tallest structure was 555 feet – the Washington Monument. When the Eiffel Tower opened in 1889, it became the tallest building in the world at 986 feet. The Eiffel Tower wasn’t surpassed until 1930 when the 1,046-foot Chrysler Building in New York was built.
3. The Tower was Once the World’s Largest Billboard
Between 1925 and 1936, the French automobile company Citroën advertised their name on the Tower using a quarter-million colored bulbs, which were attached to three sides of the Tower. The name Citroën was displayed in 100-foot vertical letters that shined so brightly it was visible from nearly 20 miles away.