Eiffel Tower History

The Eiffel Tower is truly one of the engineering feats of the world.

It is completely unique in its construction. What started out as a fair exhibit has become one of the most recognized, most photographed, and most visited structures in Europe.

The Eiffel Tower is named after its designer, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. Eiffel was a French civil engineer, specializing in metal structures. Before the Eiffel Tower, he created the Garabit viaduct and the internal frame for the Statue of Liberty, as well as other metal structures.

The French government held a contest for the best monument to be used as a display in the 1899 World’s Fair. More than 700 monument designs were entered. Eiffel won by unanimous vote with his tower design with a latticework design.

Eiffel Tower Through Gates Poster

One of the feats of the Eiffel Tower was the construction process itself. The massive tower was completed much sooner than other monuments, taking two years to complete. And much less manpower was needed, only 300 steelworkers. Only one worker was killed during construction of the Eiffel Tower. According to the book “The Tallest Tower”, the tragedy occurred at the beginning of the construction by a careless worker after work had ended for the day.

But all Parisians did not love the Eiffel Tower. During the construction of the Eiffel Tower, a petition was distributed demanding that it be dismantled. Locals thought that the tower was an eyesore. By the time the famous tower was completed, however, Eiffel became known as the Magician of Iron.


When construction of the Eiffel Tower was over, it was the tallest structure in the world. It held this record until 1930. Today, the Eiffel Tower is still the tallest structure in Paris. The tower now stands at 1069 feet high, which is over 100 stories tall. The Eiffel Tower’s pillars correspond to the points on a compass.

The Eiffel Tower is built of almost pure structural iron. Despite the tower’s size, it weighs very little. According to engineers, the Eiffel Tower weighs less than the surrounding air. This causes the Eiffel Tower to give in the wind, as much as six inches. However, it is completely safe. The Eiffel Tower is built to withstand wind speeds at more than five times the strongest winds ever known. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, the wind can gust as high as 100 miles per hour.

The Eiffel Tower was supposed to only be on display until 1909 and then dismantled. It was almost torn down several times before then. What saved it from complete destruction was Eiffel himself. Eiffel contacted the military and convinced them of the tower’s potential to be a radio transmission tower. And the world owes him a debt for saving one of the most beautiful towers and engineering marvels ever created.



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