The Eiffel Tower was originally designed and built as the entrance to the World’s Fair in 1889, but has since become a French icon of beauty and charm.
A competition was held to design and construct an entrance to 1889 World’s Fair. The winning design would have a 20 year agreement with the city of Paris after which, the design would be torn down. Maurice Koechlin, the Eiffel Tower designer, had his original design rejected by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel as it lacked ‘class’. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel submitted the revised design and won the competition. Construction on the Eiffel Tower, which was named after its chief engineer, commenced in 1887 and concluded in early 1889. The Eiffel Tower opened on May 6th, 1889 to thousands of visitors. Thomas Edison visited the tower shortly after it opened on September 10, 1889. Since the Eiffel Tower proved to be useful as a communications tower, the City of Paris decided not to dismantle the Eiffel Tower after the 20 year agreement had been reached.
The Eiffel Tower cost £260,000 to build with Alexandre Gustave Eiffel putting 80% of his own money in to the project. The Eiffel Tower’s construction fees were paid in the first year of tourism. The Eiffel Tower is a lattice tower design built of puddle iron. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel and his Eiffel Construction Business had years of experience building bridges, so their chief concern was wind resistance. His attention to wind resistance is seen in the tower as it only sways 2-3 inches in the wind. Over 18,000 pieces of iron were bolted together using over 2,500,000 rivets. Rivets were used in construction as the competition required easy demolition. Eiffel was matriculate in his engineering as not a single one of the 18,000 pieces had to be returned to the metal shop for rework.
The Eiffel Tower weighs over 10,000 tons, with over 7,300 tons of weight being from the puddle iron. It is 985 feet tall and was the tallest man made structure in the world until the completion of the Chrysler Building in 1930. With its radio spire, the Eiffel Tower stands 1,063 feet tall and is the tallest structure in Paris. The Eiffel Tower has three levels. The first level is 189 feet off the ground and can be reached by elevator or 300 stairs. The second level is 380 feet high and again can be reached by elevator or 300 stairs. The final and third level is 906 feet high and can only be reached by elevator. To keep the Eiffel Tower from rusting, workers apply over 60 tons of paint each year. Two restaurants are located in the Eiffel Tower. The first is located on the first floor called Le 58 tour Eiffel restaurant and on the second is located on the second floor called Le Jules Verne.
Over 200,000,000 people have visited the Eiffel Tower since it was opened in 1889. Today, the Eiffel Tower receives millions of paying tourists, making it the most visited paid tourist attraction in the world. The Eiffel Tower has been used in many movies. There are over 30 replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world. In addition, the Eiffel Tower’s lattice design inspired other designers to create lattice towers.
quick facts & figures
Construction Start: 1887
Construction Ended: 1889
Designer: Maurice Koechlin
Chief Engineer: Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
Total Visitors: 200,000,000
Height with Spire: 1063′
Total Weight: Over 10,000 tons
Total Cost: £260,000
Total Rivets: 2,500,000