Eiffel Tower under construction

Eiffel Tower: History and Construction

Did you know that the Parisian public and artists absolutely hated the Eiffel Tower when it was first introduced to the public?
A woman with an ‘object fetish’ even married the Eiffel Tower in 2008!

A world renowned con-artist “sold” the Eiffel Tower. Twice.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most travelled destinations on the entire globe.

The Eiffel Tower is a world famous landmark in Paris, France. If you return from Paris, the first question your friends might ask you is “So, how was the Eiffel Tower?” and then “is it truly as extraordinary as the books and movies?”

In this blog I will take you through a journey from history to its structural design to the constitution and its construction. I will also discuss a bit about the best things to do in the area of the Eiffel Tower, as well as some fun facts related to it.

History of the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower construction

The Eiffel Tower has a very interesting history. Its initial design was rejected by Gustave Eiffel himself. The local public of Paris along with the artist societies protested against the construction of the tower, claiming that it was incredibly ugly.

Let me tell you about the history of this magnificent building, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the entire world. The how and why of its origin to the present times.

Eiffel Tower Origins

Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nougier, two senior engineers that were planning for the campaign des Établishments Eifel, are given the current credit for designing the Eiffel Tower.

It was admitted by Eiffel that the Latting observatory of New York City was the inspiration for building the tower. Gustave Eiffel wasn’t very interested or hyped up about the project to build a tower at the start. However, he did approve of a more thorough approach to the design and a bit more research and study into it before he could be any certain.

Stephen Sauvestre, who was the head of the architectural department of the company, was approached later on, to ask for contributions from him, on this strange project to build a gigantic tower.

Sauvestre turned out to be good with finer details. His innovative touch with glass panels, the addition of decorative arches as well as other finer changes made the design much more appealing to Eiffel. Ultimately, he gained support.

Eiffel bought the design copyrights and patents as well. He presented the design at the exhibition of decorative art in 1884. On 30th March 1885, Eiffel disclosed his plans for the tower to the Société des Ingénieurs Civils:

“Not 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.”

Although plans were made, design copyrights and patents were bought, there was not much progress seen, at least not until 1886.
After Édouard Lockroy was chosen as minister along with Jules Grevy, who was re-elected as president of France and this project was finally passed by the government.

Instance duction better than endangering his own company for the morning test budget that is needed to build the tower I felt acted as as as one representative and got the contract signed on 8 January of 1887.

Although the projected cost for the construction of the tower was estimated to be around 6.5 million francs, he was only granted 1.5 million francs.

In its place, he was allotted leave to receive any and all revenue coming for the next 20 years that came from the marketable usages of the tower during that time period.

Why was the Eiffel Tower built?

The idea of the Eiffel Tower was born as France’s entry to show the craft and technical abilities at the 1889 Exposition Universelle, a celebration of the centennial of the French Revolution.

The magnificent construction was built and designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel and his team. Later on, it was named after him. Constructed during 1887-89, it was nicknamed “La dame de fer” by Parisians.

How big is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower is 1063 feet tall or 324 metres high, the base measures up to equal dimensions on each side of 125 metres or 410 ft.

The famous landmark of Paris even crossed Washington monument to take its place as the tallest man-made structure on the globe for 41 years. The Chrysler building took it’s place in New York City, as the tallest man-made structure after it was finished in 1930.

The tower consists of 3 levels accessible to visitors. Climbing from ground level to first level takes about 300 steps. Alternatively, you can choose to take the lift from the ground to the first or second levels. Both levels consist of restaurants for visitors as well.

The third layer and the highest platform accessible to visitors stands about 276 metres from the ground.
If you are visiting Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, you will need to purchase tickets that will let you enter through a lift or ascend up the stairs to first or second levels.

When was the Eiffel Tower built?

The Eiffel Tower was built in a period of under two years. Wireless work started on this foundation back on 28 January 1887. The construction was finished in 1889.

Time scale of Eiffel Tower construction

On 18 July 1887, direction of the metal works started for the Eiffel Tower, depicting the true building of the start of building after the foundations were built completely.

7th December 1887 was the day when the legs and scaffolding of the tower were started to be worked upon.

20th March 1888 became the monumental date of the formation of first level of the tower.

Beginning of building of the second phase started on 15th May 1888.

The second tier was fully built on 21st August 1888.

On 26th December 1888, the building of upper stages of the tower started.

On 15th March of 1889, the cupola of the tower was built.

How to get up the levels of the Eiffel Tower?

There are two major ways you can go up the different stages of the Eiffel Tower that are accessible to the public. One is the good old way of climbing up the stairs manually and the 2nd is by taking the lift to the upper levels.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that, to do either of those above, you will have to buy your tickets first of all.

Lifts: Ever since the beginning of the building of the tower, creating proper lifts to go up the levels has been a major concern for the committee overseeing its construction.

If you think about it, it is quite obvious in hindsight, that while many people may choose to go up the levels while climbing the stairs, most if not all will prefer a lift, because, the easier the better.

The lifts for first level were relatively manageable and the contract for this construction was given to Combulazier & Lepape and Roux in East and West legs, two lifts were to be fitted.

While the lifts for first level were actually straight forward to install, the lifts for second level were a conundrum that French companies found themselves in.

None of the French construction companies succeeded in putting forth a good plan for creating the lifts for the second level. The Otis brothers and Company, a European branch, put forth a proposal for the lift, but it was dismissed.

The government wanted the work to stay in France, and the companies and materials involved to be French as well. However, none of the French companies were up to the task.

The problem with the lift for the second level was, that it was not in a straight line like the usual one for the first level. There was a slight curve in the space from the first level ending to the peak of the second, which became the problem. The lift for second to third level was provided by Léon Edoux.

Design of the Eiffel Tower

Design of the Eiffel tower

How does the Eiffel Tower stand against wind resistance?

When the Eiffel Tower was built at first, people objected to the fact that it was designed with artistic connotations in mind rather than technical aspects that should have been put into more consideration.

It was thought that the basic principles of engineering were disregarded completely to make it decorative and fanciful.

However, the company that built this, the team of designers along with engineers and builders, had considered all angles from the very beginning. All of them were experts in their own field and something as basic as consideration of wind forces was taken into account before the building process even started.

In fact, after closer examination of the tower design it was revealed that all the bots on the tower were Bogdan at length, even sometimes going the extra length to ensure that there would be no chance of any future problems related to resistance from wind forces.

Accommodations in the Eiffel Tower

At the start, the first level of the tower comprised of three restaurants, one Russian, one Flemish, one French and a bar which was Anglo American in nature.

The Flemish bistro was later renovated into a theatre with 250 seats in total. There were even some laboratories that were used to conduct some experiments.

Gustave Eiffel used to live there occasionally in a small flat at the top where he entertained his guests. Presently the lodgings are open to the public. It now contains realistic figures of various celebrity guests that visited the quarters as well as of Gustave Eiffel himself.

Recently, a lodging was built on the first level of the tower for the four winners of the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament in Paris that occurred in June.

The immortalised engraved names of the Eiffel Tower creators

One of the most notable things about the Eiffel Tower is perhaps the names engraved on it, in recognition of the building of the tower to its creators.

These engravings contain the names of the engineers, mathematicians and about 72 French scientists that took part in its construction and design.

You would be surprised to know that the names at the very start of the 20th century, but later on, from 1986 to 87, by société nouvelle d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the company in charge of managing the tower, had the engravings restored.

The aesthetics and decorations of the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower, Paris

Although when you visit Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, you can clearly see by yourself that the tower is designed practically. It has been built to counter wind resistance in design.

At the beginning, the artists even protested vehemently against its construction. They thought it would put a damper on the artistic beauty of other buildings in Paris and called it a gigantic monstrosity as well.

Who thought that later on it would become the landmark of Paris, France or one of the most traveled destinations in the entire world, and finally, as the best place in the world for couples to visit?

It is not always all that apparent and look and structure, but sometimes the concepts behind the structures win over the norms of beauty fixed by society.

The tower has been colored in three shades, which is considerably lighter towards the top and it gets darker at its bottom. The lighter shade at the top matches with the Parisian sky, giving it an ethereal feeling.

In 1968, it was renovated and the original reddish brown color was altered into a relatively bronze hue, which is nowadays known as Eiffel Tower Brown.

While most of the tower has been built with functionality in mind, the decorative curves added by Sauvestre, which eventually convinced Gustave Eiffel to take up the cause of getting the tower erected, are perhaps the only non-structural aspect of the tower.

Travel to the Eiffel Tower

Before you plan to travel to Eiffel you must be prepared with the transport and a bit of prior research is recommended.

The closest form of transport to the Eiffel Tower is Bir-Hakeim of Paris Metro Station. Champ De Mars Tour Eiffel is the nearby RER station that you should look into if you plan to visit the Eiffel Tower.

Things to do near the Eiffel Tower:

  1. Have a fun picnic at Champ De Mars with your loved ones
  2. Take a stroll along the nearby Trocadero Gardens
  3. Explore the Parais De Chaillot
  4. Relish modern art at the Modern Art Museum
  5. Become an art connoisseur at the art show at Palais De Tokyo
  6. Loosening up on a cruise on the river Seine
  7. Check out the Napoleon Tomb at Hotel Des Invalides

Fun Facts about the Eiffel Tower:

• A world-renowned con-artist, Victor Lustig, “sold” the Eiffel Tower. Twice.

• The tower is a construct of metal, hence it shrinks about 6 inches every cold season.

• The tower is about 324 meters tall. 

• Before the Chrysler building of New York was built in 1930, it remained the world’s tallest building for about 41 consecutive years.

• Around 250 million visitors have been to the Eiffel Tower ever since it was built till now.

• A women even married the Eiffel Tower in 2008. She was known to have an ‘object fetish’.

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