Whether you’re lucky enough to have visited Paris or have only ever dreamed of going there, chances are you know of the French capital’s most beloved landmark: the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower, La Tour Eiffel in French, was the main exhibit of Paris Exposition of 1889. The architechs constructed it to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. And to demonstrate France’s industrial prowess to the world.
Although at the beginning it was seen as ‘the ugliest building in Paris. Soon it became the symbol of the city”. Tea Gudek Snajdar said. Gaudek is an Amsterdam-based art historian, museum docent and a blogger at Culture Tourist.
World’s Fair centerpiece –
the Eiffel Tower
Gustave Eiffel, a French civil engineer, receives credit with designing the tower that bears his name. However, it was actually two lesser-known men, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who came up with the original drawings.
Kochlin and Nouguier were the chief engineers for the Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel — Gustave Eiffel’s engineering firm. Together with Eiffel and a French architect, Stephen Sauvestre, the engineers submitted their plans to a contest. Later, that would determine the centerpiece for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.
The Eiffel company’s design won, and construction of the wrought-iron tower began in July 1887.
But the idea of the giant metal monument loming over the city did not thrill everybody.
Even to contemporary eyes, the Eiffel Tower is unique. “Modern architecture was emerging slightly in Paris before the Eiffel Tower. But it was doing it in a very shy way,” said Gudek Snajdar. Iron, which was newly popular as a building material because of the Industrial Revolution, became a cornerstone of modern architecture. But in 1887, it had only appeared internally, as support structures, or in unimportant buildings like hothouses, factories and bridges. the Eiffel Tower
Construction of the Eiffel Tower
Each of the 18,000 pieces used to build the tower was calculated specifically for the project. And prepared in Eiffel’s factory on the outskirts of Paris. The wrought-iron structure is composed of four immense arched legs. Set on masonry piers that curve inward until joining in a single, tapered tower.
Building the tower required 2.5 million thermally assembled rivets and 7,300 tons of iron. To protect the tower from the elements, workers painted every inch of the structure. That is a feat that required 60 tons of paint. Experts have repainted the tower 18 times.
Eiffel Tower fun facts
- Gustave Eiffel used latticed wrought iron to construct the tower. This was to demonstrate that the metal could be as strong as stone while being lighter.
- Eiffel also created the internal frame for the Statue of Liberty.
- Construction of the Eiffel Tower cost 7,799,401.31 French gold francs in 1889, or about $1.5 million.
- The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet (324 meters) tall, including the antenna at the top. Without the antenna, it is 984 feet (300 m).
- The Eiffel tower hit as the world’s tallest structure until the Chrysler Building was built in New York in 1930.
- The architechs built the tower to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up. The top also moves as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) away from the sun.
- The sun also causes the tower to grow about 6 inches.
- The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons.
- There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower.
- The French have a nickname for the tower: La Dame de Fer, “the Iron Lady.”
A hallmark of modern architecture
The Eiffel Tower is unquestionably modern in its shape. Which is distinct from the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque style, in the 18th and 19th centuries. But its material truly made it stand out.
“The Eiffel Tower was one of the first examples of the modern architecture because of the iron,” said Gudek Snajdar. “And the fact that the building didn’t have any purpose in particular”. It existed purely to demonstrate French architectural creativity and skill with materials to the world; it was imbued with meaning but not utility.
The Eiffel Tower is also a more democratic, and therefore modern, structure than other monuments of the time, according to Gudek Snajdar. Gustave Eiffel insisted that elevators be included in the tower. But architechs imported from an American company because no French company could meet the quality standards, Gudek Snajdar said. “Because of the escalators, the building could be used as a tower from which Parisians and their visitors could enjoy a view on their city. That was something that was before only accessible to a few wealthy people that could afford flying in a hot air balloon. But now, it was rather cheap and anyone could enjoy the view on a city from it,” she explained.
Uses of the tower- the Eiffel Tower
Architechs made the tower as a temporary structure. The architechs planned to remove it after 20 years.
“After seeing the success of the tower during and after the World Exhibition, many of the former enemies of the project publicly apologized. By the time the Exhibition was over, most Parisians took pride in the the structure”. Said Iva Polansky, a Calgary-based novelist and historian at Victorian Paris. “Although there remained a few die-hards like the novelist Guy de Maupassant, who continued to loathe the sight of it.”
Gustave Eiffel was also not keen on seeing his favorite project dismantled. And so he set about making the tower an indispensable tool for the scientific community.
Just days after its opening, Eiffel installed a meteorology laboratory on the third floor of the tower. He invited scientists to use the lab for their studies on everything from gravity to electricity. Ultimately, however, it was the tower’s looming height, not its laboratory, that saved it from extinction.
In 1910, the city of Paris renewed Eiffel’s concession for the tower because of the structure’s usefulness as a wireless telegraph transmitter. The French military used the tower to communicate wirelessly with ships in the Atlantic Ocean and intercept enemy messages during World War I.
The tower is still home to more than 120 antennas, broadcasting both radio and television. It broadcst signals throughout the capital city and beyond.
View of the Paris skyline from the Eiffel Tower.
The tower today –the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower still stands as the centerpiece of Paris’ cityscape. More than 7 million people visit this iconic tower every year. ccording to the attraction’s official website. Since the tower’s 1889 opening, 250 million people from around the world have enjoyed all that the Eiffel Tower offers.
And it has a lot to offer. The tower’s three platforms are home to two restaurants, several buffets, a banquet hall, a champagne bar and gift shops. Educational tours of the tower are available for children and tourist groups.
The tower opens to visitors 365 days a year, with visiting times varying by season. From June to September, the tower remains open until after midnight. Rates vary, but visitors can expect to pay between $13 (10 euros) and $19 (14.5 euros) per person. Tickets, including group-discounted tickets, can be purchased online or at the ticket office at the foot of the tower… the Eiffel Tower.