When it comes to the Eiffel Tower, who created it and why? If you’re asking yourself the same questions, click here to learn more today!
Of the various notable landmarks in Europe, there is one that stands above the rest – literally!
We are of course talking about the Eiffel Tower. Located in the heart of Paris, this landmark is visited by thousands of tourists and locals alike every day.
When going for a walk in Paris, one cannot help stop in their tracks to look at the Eiffel Tower. And at night, the tower lights up and adds to the enchantment of this fascinating city.
But do you know why the Eiffel Tower was built in the first place? The history behind this landmark is truly fascinating.
Why The Eiffel Tower Was Created
While we all enjoy the Eiffel Tower when we see it, many people do not know who created the Eiffel Tower. They also don’t know why the tower was built in the first place.
Learning about the history of Paris’ most famous landmark adds to the experience of seeing it. If you find yourself in Paris, we recommend the Eiffel Tower night tour to experience this landmark at its best.
1. A Grand Entrance
In 1889, Paris was to play host for the World’s Fair. 1889 was a special year for France as it marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
The French were proud that their capital city would host this exciting event. They wanted this event to make an impression on the world. They wanted Paris to be the envy of the world.
This is when Eiffel et Compagnie (Eiffel and Company) owned by renowned French architect and engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel came in.
He decided to create a grand entrance for visitors to walk through when going to the World’s Fair.
One wonders if Monsieur Eiffel knew that the resplendence of the tower would last centuries after the fair had passed…
Back at a meeting at the office, engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier showed Monsieur Eiffel the blueprint for the design.
The grand entrance for the World’s Fair would be in the form of a pylon tower. This tower would be held by four lattice girders. These girders would stand far apart at the base of the tower so that the fair’s attendees could easily walk through in droves.
In 1884, five years prior to the World’s Fair the first sketch of this tower had been drawn…
Monsieur Eiffel was impressed with the sketch and approved the idea for the tower.
He created a team with Koechlin, Nouguier, as well as other engineers and architects to construct the Eiffel Tower.
It was to be built with wrought iron and reach a height of 300 meters, almost 1000 feet.
The construction of the Eiffel Tower began on July 1st, 1887. It was completed twenty-two months later. There were 300 workers who collectively dealt with 18,000 pieces to construct the tower.
All of the metal pieces of the Eiffel Tower are held together by rivets. These are mechanical fasteners that hold sturdy pieces of metal together. Each rivet had a team of four men who worked together to construct a rivet in a factory.
One man would heat up the rivet; a second would hold the rivet in place; the third man would shape the head of the rivet and the last man would beat the rivet using a sledgehammer. The tower has a total of 2.5 million rivets!
The girders were built upon concrete foundations that were built under the ground. Each corner edge of the girder rests on its own concrete block.
During construction, the tower had wooden scaffolding and a few steam cranes that were installed onto the tower so that the workers could work more efficiently.
In December of 1887, the girders were joined to the first level…
4. Initial Reaction
The initial reaction to the Eiffel Tower was one of amazement. While we may be used to rapid construction today, we must remember that construction projects would take years in the 1800s.
The record construction time of twenty-two months left an impression on the French. This new tower had become a sense of pride for them – and it remains a sense of pride today.
After the completion of the Eiffel Tower, Monsieur Eiffel received recognition from the Legion of Honor.
One of France’s most eminent journalists, Emile Goudeau, was also impressed and deeply moved when he first gazed at the Eiffel Tower. He described the tower as being larger than life – not just because of its size but of the dominance it now had over the city.
And he was right. While the Eiffel Tower may not be the earliest landmark created in the history of Paris, it remains one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. It is a tower that watches over France’s capital. And it is a continuous reminder for the people of France and tourists alike to marvel at the ingenuity of France and Europe.
It was the perfect entrance for the 1889 World’s Fair which saw two million visitors to Paris. All of whom walked through the entrance under the tower, as millions continue to do so today.
The Eiffel Tower Today
Over a century later, the Eiffel Tower remains a landmark that sparks awe in its viewers. Over a century after Emile Goudeau’s initial amazement, many other journalists, artists, and everyday people find inspiration when they gaze upon the tower.
A lesser-known fact is that during its construction, the Eiffel Tower did have its fair share of critics. Many great writers, artists, and satirists criticized the building of the tower. They did not share the amazement that Monsieur Eiffel felt when he first saw the blueprint.
However, upon the final construction and introduction of the Eiffel Tower to Parisians, the criticisms faded away rapidly – which is probably why most people are not familiar with it today.
It is a major tourist attraction and a reminder to the world at the beauty of French culture. And we expect it will remain so for centuries to come.
Now that you know the fascinating history of the Eiffel Tower and why it was built, we encourage you to visit Paris and see the marvel for yourself.
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