Good morning everyone, how are you all? Well, I hope. I was so worried that I wouldn’t get this published in time as yesterday we had electricians come to the house to fix a faulty socket that needed to be sorted, which meant our electricity was turned off whilst they were working meaning I couldn’t actually work on my blog, and because they left a mess, my mum and I had to re-clean everything again for our own protection. I’ve also been a bit poorly as well – my ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) has flared up rather badly that I’ve unfortunately suffered a little relapse, my body is very tired and I’m having to sleep a bit more than I’d like, but I’m listening to it and doing what I need to do in order to get better.
Anyway, enough with my little rant (apologies about that), let’s get on with today’s post…I know we can’t travel to go on holiday at this moment in time but one place I’ve always wanted to go to and hopefully will get to visit in the future is Paris. One of the main reasons, of course, is to see the Eiffel Tower and I recently learned that this beautiful monument actually has its own day to celebrate the completion of the tower itself and I thought a way I could honor it is to do a post about the Eiffel Tower, so read on to find out more…
The Eiffel Tower
About the Eiffel Tower:
The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Locally nicknamed “La dame de fer” (French for “Iron Lady”), it was constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair and was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.
The Main Engineer: Gustave Eiffel
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (born Bonickhausen dit Eiffel 15 December 1832 – 27 December 1923) was a French civil engineer. After graduation from the College of Art and Manufacturing in 1855, Eiffel began to specialize in metal construction, especially bridges. Eiffel startled the world with the construction of the Eiffel Tower (1887–89), which brought him the nickname “magician of iron.” Onlookers were both awed that Eiffel could build the world’s tallest structure (at 984 feet) in just two years and torn by the tower’s unique design, most deriding it as hideously modern and useless. Despite the tower’s immediate draw as a tourist attraction, only years later did critics and Parisians begin to view the structure as a work of art.
It also directed his interest to problems of aerodynamics, and he used the tower for a number of experiments. At Auteuil, outside Paris, he built the first aerodynamic laboratory. The lab included a wind tunnel, and Eiffel’s work there influenced some of the first aviators, including the Wright Brothers. Eiffel went on to write several books on aerodynamics, most notably Resistance of the Air and Aviation, first published in 1907.
Eiffel turned his interest to meteorology in his final years, studying the subject at length before his death on December 27, 1923.
Work on the foundations started on 28 January 1887. Those for the east and south legs were straightforward, with each leg resting on four 2 m (6.6 ft) concrete slabs, one for each of the principal girders of each leg. The west and north legs, being closer to the river Seine, were more complicated: each slab needed two piles installed by using compressed-air caissons 15 m (49 ft) long and 6 m (20 ft) in diameter driven to a depth of 22 m (72 ft) to support the concrete slabs, which were 6 m (20 ft) thick. Each of these slabs supported a block of limestone with an inclined top to bear a supporting shoe for the ironwork.
The assembly of the supports began on July 1, 1887 and was completed twenty-two months later. All the elements were prepared in Eiffel’s factory located at Levallois-Perret on the outskirts of Paris. Each of the 18,000 pieces used to construct the Tower were specifically designed and calculated, traced out to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimeter and then put together forming new pieces around five metres each. No drilling or shaping was done on site: if any part did not fit, it was sent back to the factory for alteration. In all, 18,038 pieces were joined together using 2.5 million rivets. A team of constructors, who had worked on the great metal viaduct projects, were responsible for the 150 to 300 workers on site assembling this gigantic erector set.
The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889 and, on 31 March, Eiffel celebrated by leading a group of government officials, accompanied by representatives of the press, to the top of the tower. Because the lifts were not yet in operation, the ascent was made by foot, and took over an hour, with Eiffel stopping frequently to explain various features. Most of the party chose to stop at the lower levels, but a few, including the structural engineer, Émile Nouguier, the head of construction, Jean Compagnon, the President of the City Council, and reporters from Le Figaro and Le Monde Illustré, completed the ascent. At 2:35 pm, Eiffel hoisted a large Tricolor to the accompaniment of a 25-gun salute fired at the first level.
Eiffel Tower At Night, Illuminations:
Unveiled on the 31st December 1985, invented by Pierre Bideau, an electrician and lighting engineer, it consists of 336 projectors equipped with high-pressure, yellow-orange sodium lamps. This form of illumination, which has been met with unanimous, worldwide success, was the starting point of a nocturnal revival of monuments, in Paris as well as in the cities of France and the world. The beams of light, directed from the bottom towards the top, illuminate the Eiffel Tower from the inside of its structure. Since 1958, by replacing the 1,290 working projectors that illuminated the Tower from the outside, they have been highlighting the fine metallic structure of the monument and illuminating the areas used by late-night visitors until the closing of the Tower to the public. In addition to the aesthetic aspect, it is equally necessary for the security of the late-night operation of the Tower.
The projectors are turned on in under 10 minutes. This is activated upon nightfall by the sensors. In 2004, they were replaced by projectors with an electrical power of 600 watts as opposed to the previous 1KW, i.e. an energy consumption saving of around 40%. Their improved output of light preserves all the beauty of the overall appearance. Since that time and every four years, a team of SETE technicians has replaced the 336 projector bulbs that wrap the Eiffel Tower in golden light every evening. The last operation took place in spring 2019. In December 2019, the four 2000W projectors that had illuminated the antenna since 1985 were replaced by LED versions that are 10 times less powerful and consume 10 times less energy.
31 Facts About The Eiffel Tower:
- The Tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.
- Since its opening, more than 250 million people have visited the tower.
- Its construction took two years, two months, and five days – 180 years fewer than Paris’s other great attraction, Notre Dame.
- The tower sways around six to seven centimeters (2-3 inches) in the wind.
- The names of 72 engineers, scientists, and mathematicians are engraved on the side of the tower, each of whom contributed to its construction.
- Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is lit up and literally sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, thanks to 20,000 light bulbs. Energy-saving projectors are used to light “The Iron Lady”.
- Repainting the tower, which happens every seven years, requires 60 tonnes of paint.
- You could be fined for taking a photo of the tower at night and sharing it. The Illumination Show – in which the Tower lights up at night is “art” according to the French government and therefore, copyrighted.
- The Eiffel Tower gains 7 inches under the sun but shrinks back in the cold.
- The Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 40 years. It lost this title in 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York City was completed.
- It is 324 meters tall, including its antennas. The top observation deck is 276 m above ground.
- Given the elasticity of the cables and the time taken to align the cars with the landings, each lift, in normal service, takes an average of 8 minutes and 50 seconds to do the round trip, spending an average of 1 minute and 15 seconds at each level.
- The tower has two restaurants: Le 58 Tour Eiffel on the first level, and Le Jules Verne, a gourmet restaurant with its own lift on the second level.
- The tower has been used for making radio transmissions since the beginning of the 20th century. Until the 1950s, sets of aerial wires ran from the cupola to anchors on the Avenue de Suffren and Champ de Mars.
- When it opened in 1889, the Eiffel Tower sported a reddish-brown color. A decade later, it was coated in yellow paint. The tower was also yellow-brown and chestnut brown before the adoption of the current, specially mixed “Eiffel Tower Brown” in 1968.
- It was actually two lesser-known men, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who came up with the original drawings for the monument.
- The first platform is 190 feet above the ground; the second platform is 376 feet, and the third platform is almost 900 feet up.
- When Gustave Eiffel designed his namesake tower, he cleverly included a private apartment where he hosted famous guests, like Thomas Edison. Now it is open for everyone.
- There are over 30 replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world. The Tokyo Tower is actually taller than the Eiffel Tower, while the one in Las Vegas is about half its size.
- There’s a Military Bunker underneath the Eiffel Tower, which has now been turned into a small museum, and tour groups can explore the small space.
- There is an Ice rink inside which is functional during the peak winter, from December to February, and is built 200 feet off the ground, offering Paris’s stunning views.
- The Eiffel Tower was the first manmade structure to reach over 1,000 feet in height.
- The Eiffel Tower receives more visitors annually than any other paid monument in the world.
- In 2020, it costs an adult about $12.39 to access the second floor via stairs and about $23.84 to access the top floor via elevator. You cannot access the top floor of the Eiffel Tower using stairs. Stairs do exist but not used.
- In many modern films, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most used landmarks when portraying the city of Paris, France. This iconic monument is also considered to be the heart of the city by many Parisians and foreigners from all around the world.
- A few steps on the Eiffel Tower were taken down in 1983 to prevent several visitors from going into unauthorized locations within the Eiffel Tower. Later on, the pieces were cut into several smaller pieces and put up for auction.
- In 1905, the Eiffel Tower hosted a stair climbing competition, where participants had to race up the monument’s steps. This event was organized by a local newspaper which attracted over 300 participants to join.
- Originally, the plans to establish the Eiffel Tower involved the city of Barcelona. However, the Spanish rejected the monument, believing would become an eyesore to the public if it was placed in their city.
- French car manufacturer Citroen used the tower as a giant billboard between 1925 and 1934 – the company name was emblazoned on the tower using a quarter of a million light bulbs – and was recorded as the world’s biggest advertisement by the Guinness Book of Records.
- To mark the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower’s completion the British Virgin Islands launched a special tower-shaped $10 coin.
- One attendee at the 1889 World’s Fair was Sir John Bickerstaffe, Mayor of Blackpool. So impressed was he at the new attraction, he has a similar tower built on the English seafront.19. The tower appears in the 1985 Bond film A View to a Kill. There is a scene in the Jules Verne restaurant and a fight in the stairway.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy the rest of the week and stay safe but for now, I shall see you next Wednesday! 😃