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It was built for the World’s Fair in 1889 by French engineer Gustave Alexandre Eiffel, who designed it as a cross-braced, latticed girder with minimum wind resistance. Constructed from over 6300 metric tons (7000 tons) of highest quality wrought iron, it is a masterpiece of wrought-iron technology. Eiffel Tower n a 300-meter-984-foot high iron tower in central Paris, France. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Paris Exposition


More About Eiffel Tower : Introduction : Eiffel Alexandra : Eiffel Tower History : Eiffel Exposition : Eiffel Tower Gallery


 Eiffel Tower History

The Eiffel {y'-ful} Tower, an immense stucture of exposed latticework supports made of iron, was erected for the Paris Exposition of 1889. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII of England) officiated at the ceremonial opening. Of the 700 proposals submitted in a design competition, one was unanimously chosen, a radical creation from the French structural engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (b. Dec. 15, 1832, d. Dec. 28, 1923), who was assisted in the design by engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, and architect Stephen Sauvestre.

However, the controversial tower elicited some strong reactions, and a petition of 300 names — including those of Maupassant, Emile Zola, Charles Garnier (architect of the Opéra Garnier), and Dumas the Younger — was presented to the city government, protesting its construction. The petition read, "We, the writers, painters, sculptors, architects and lovers of the beauty of Paris, do protest with all our vigour and all our indignation, in the name of French taste and endangered French art and history, against the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower."

Nature lovers thought that it would interfere with the flight of birds over Paris. But the Eiffel Tower was admired by Rousseau, Utrillo, Chagall, and Delaunay. It was almost torn down in 1909 at the expiration of its 20-year lease, but was saved because of its antenna — used for telegraphy at that time. Beginning in 1910 it became part of the International Time Service. French radio (since 1918), and French television (since 1957) have also made use of its stature. In the 1960s, it was the subject of a wonderful study by semiologist Roland Barthes.

   
  Eiffel Tower
under construction

April 1888

July 1888

December 1888

completed
May 1889

 
     

Built to celebrate the science and engineering achievements of its age, soaring 300m / 984 ft. (320.75m / 1,052 ft. including antenna) and weighing 7000 tons, the structure consists of two visibly distinct parts: a base composed of a platform resting on four separate supports (called pylons or bents) and, above this, a slender tower created as the bents taper upward, rising above a second platform to merge in a unified column.

This unprecedented work, the tallest structure in the world until the Empire State Building was built about 40 years later, had several antecedents. Among them were the iron-supported railway viaducts designed by Eiffel, an arch bridge over the Douro River in Portugal with a span of 160 m (525 ft), and a design for a circular, iron-frame tower proposed by the American engineers Clarke and Reeves for the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Eiffel knew and publicly acknowledged this influence; he was no stranger to the United States, having designed the wrought-iron pylon inside Frederic Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty in 1885. Later in the same year, he had also begun work on the cupola of the Nice observatory.

Eiffel was the leading European authority on the aerodynamics of high frames (he wrote "The Resistance of the Air" in 1913). In the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the curve of the base pylons was precisely calculated so that the bending and shearing forces of the wind were progressively transformed into forces of compression, which the bents could withstand more effectively. Such was Eiffel's engineering wizardry that even in the strongest winds his tower never sways more than 4-1/2 inches. The superskyscrapers erected since 1960, such as the World Trade Center, were constructed in much the same way.

Eiffel Tower,wrought-iron tower in Paris, a landmark and an early example of wrought-iron construction on a gigantic scale. It was designed and built by the French civil engineer Gustave Alexandre Eiffel for the Paris World's Fair of 1889. The tower, without its modern broadcasting antennas, is 300 m (984 ft) high. The lower section consists of four immense arched legs set on masonry piers. The legs curve inward until they unite in a single tapered tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels; on the first is also a restaurant. The tower, constructed of about 6300 metric tons (about 7000 tons) of iron, has stairs and elevators. A meteorological station, a radio communications station, and a television transmission antenna, as well as a suite of rooms that were used by Eiffel, are located near the top of the tower

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More About Eiffel Tower : Introduction : Eiffel Alexandra : Eiffel Tower History : Eiffel Exposition : Eiffel Tower Gallery