The Eiffel Tower is the most recognizable landmark in Paris and is known worldwide as a symbol of France. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it is a premier tourist destination, with over 5.5 million visitors per year. The tower received its 200,000,000th guest on November 28, 2002.
The structure was built from 1887-1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle (1889), a World's fair at the centennial celebration of the French revolution. It was inaugurated on March 31, 1889, and opened on May 6. 300 steel workers joined together 18,038 pieces of steel, using two and a half million rivets. Considering the safety standards in place at the time, it is remarkable that only one worker died in the construction of the tower, during the installation of the lifts (elevators).
The tower is 300 metres tall, (986 feet), not including the television antenna on top, which adds another 20 meters, and weighs over 10,000 tonnes (over 21,000,000 pounds). When it was built it was the highest structure in the World. Maintenance on the tower includes 50 tons of dark brown paint every 7 years. Depending on the ambient temperature, the Eiffel Tower will change height by several centimetres because of contraction and expansion of the metal.
Perhaps predictably, the tower met with resistance from the public when it was first built, many thought it would be an eyesore. Today it is widely considered to be one of the most striking pieces of architectural art in the world.
Originally, Eiffel had a permit to leave the tower standing for 20 years, but as it proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to stay after the end of the permit.
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2 Reproductions and Imitations
4 External links
Father Theodor Wulf in 1910 took observations of radiation at the top and bottom of the Eiffel Tower, discovering more than was expected at the top, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.
In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the Eiffel Tower for scrap.
When Adolf Hitler visited Paris in World War II, the lifts were put out of action by the French so that he would have to climb the 1792 steps to the summit - the part to repair them was allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war, though it was working again within hours of the departure of the Nazis. He chose to stay on the ground.
On January 3, 1956 a fire damaged the top of the tower.
In 1959 the present radio antenna was added to the top.
In the 1980s an old restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; this was purchased and reconstructed in New Orleans, Louisiana, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, more recently known as the Red Room.
In the year 2000, flashing lights and several high power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.
At 19:20 on July 22, 2003, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after forty minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.
View from the Tower down the Champ de Mars, with the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) in the distance.
Reproductions and Imitations
Several reproductions of the Eiffel Tower (often smaller-scale) are found in:
- Tokyo, Japan called the Tokyo Tower (13 meters higher than the original, scale 1.04:1)
- Blackpool in England, called the Blackpool Tower (however, this is not a free-standing structure. It stands atop the Tower Ballroom complex, and does not have the four "legs" of the original)
- Guatemala City, Guatemala - Torre del Reformador, 75 meters tall
- Paradise, Nevada, near Las Vegas, USA (scale 1:2)
- Prague, Czech Republic (scale 1:5), Petrinska rozhledna, built in 1891
- Shenzhen, China (scale 1:3)
- King's Island theme park, Ohio (scale 1:3)
- an imitation in front of Paris Hotel, Las Vegas (scale 1:2).
- In the late 19th Century there was a proposal to build a tower at Wembley. Several designs were put forward; the winning entry was a six-legged metal tower. Eventually the proposal was dropped, perhaps because the tower would have looked too similar to the Eiffel Tower.