History and Documentation of the Eiffel Tower
By Marc Depraz
Built for the Universal Exhibition in celebration of the French Revolution centenary, the Eiffle Tower hoisting the flag to the top was inaugurated on March 31st 1889.
In spite of big protests and harsh critics of Parisians and French intellectuals during its construction, the metal structure has become today the symbol of Paris, attracting over 6 million visitors each year.
Contractors : Gustave Eiffel was assisted by, among others, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier as engineers and Stephen Sauvestre as architect.
Studies of the project began in 1884. In spite of the contraversy raised in the public opinion its construction however began in 1887 and finished 26 months later in 1889. The metal tower was, in the first place, planned to be demolished only after the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Radio transmission experiences carried out by the French military before the deadline of the destruction plan finally saved the tower.
Materials and weight : puddled iron erected with a crossbar system made of 18.038 pieces and fixed with 2.500.000 rivets. The structure of Gustave Eiffel's masterpiece is very airy and resistent to the wind. Notwithstanding its robust and stout structure it only weighs 7,300 tons.
Height : From the ground to the flagpole its height was 312,27 meters in 1889, whereas it is today, 324 meters high with antennae. Different French television companies install their antennae right on top of the tower.
Owned by Paris local government and managed by a French private company "Société Nouvelle d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel", this structure is maintained and renovated every 7 years with 50 tons of paint executed by workers who master acrobatic and climbing sports.
Lighting : The "metal lady" is illuminated by 352 projectors of 1000 watts and twinkles every 30 minutes in the evening with 20.000 bulbs and 800 fairy lights.
The Eiffel Tower twinklings were at first made to celebrate the new 2000 year arrival. But Parisians, inspite of electricity excess costs, could not be deprived of this marvel. The company in charge of the Eiffel Tower had to rethink of a new way to keep the tower twinkling. After more than a year of not functionning, the Eiffel Tower got its twinklings back with an inaugural celebration on June 21th, 2003 at 11.20 pm. The new twicklings are even more impressive than the previous ones. The current lighting system by immersely reducing the electric power consumption, offered the Eiffel Tower the chance of twinkling another extra ten years. The evening celebration welcoming this brand-newly decorated Iron Lady was full of emotion. The event was greated by well-known national and international artists. This special happening was also greated with splendid and huge fireworks. There were more than 200,000 people to welcome this very special show. All were amazed by such a splendor.
To make the tower look alive and more elegant, 4 floodlights equipped with 6.000 watt xenon bulbs keep rotating on the top.
Number of steps : 1665 steps for sportive visitors. Transparent lifts go up to the 2nd floor where you can find all sorts of souvenir shops.