Eiffel Tower – One of the world’s most recognisable structures in Paris

A wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. The design of the Eiffel Tower is attributed to Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, two senior engineers working for the Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel.

15 May 1888 – Start of construction on the second stage. It only took five months to build the foundations and twenty-one to finish assembling the metal pieces of the Tower

The famous tower, was constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. Considering the rudimentary means available at that period, this could be considered record speed. The assembly of the Tower was a marvel of precision, as all chroniclers of the period agree. The project was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France.

The tallest structure in Paris, is 324 meters tall. Its base is square, measuring 125 meters on each side. All the elements were prepared in Eiffel’s factory located at Levallois-Perret on the outskirts of Paris. Each of the 18,000 pieces used to construct the Tower were specifically designed and calculated, traced out to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimeter and then put together forming new pieces around five meters each. A team of constructors, who had worked on the great metal viaduct projects, were responsible for the 150 to 300 workers on site assembling this gigantic erector set.

First drawing of the Eiffel Tower by Maurice Koechlin including size comparison with other Parisian landmarks / Image source – Foundations of the Eiffel Tower / Image source

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 meters above the ground. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second.

The tower is painted in three shades: lighter at the top, getting progressively darker towards the bottom to complement the Parisian sky. It was originally reddish brown – this changed in 1968 to a bronze color known as “Eiffel Tower Brown”.

It only took five months to build the foundations and twenty-one to finish assembling the metal pieces of the Tower. The puddled iron of the tower weighs 7,300 tons, and the addition of lifts, shops and antennae have brought the total weight to approximately 10,100 tons. The Eiffel Tower sways by up to 9 cm in the wind / Image: memolands.com

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