Eiffel Tower, History of Eifel Tower, Timeline of Events of Eifel Tower in France Paris
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The tower stands 324 m (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world from its completion until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France after the 2004 Millau Viaduct.
The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The walk to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.
The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.
Stages of construction of the Eiffel Tower
The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The co-architects of the Eiffel Tower were Emile Nouguier, Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre. The risk of accident was great as, unlike modern skyscrapers, the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. However, because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died. The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May.
The tower was much criticised by the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Newspapers of the day were filled with angry letters from the arts community of Paris. One is quoted extensively in William Watson’s US Government Printing Office publication of 1892 Paris Universal Exposition: Civil Engineering, Public Works, and Architecture: “And during twenty years we shall see, stretching over the entire city, still thrilling with the genius of so many centuries, we shall see stretching out like a black blot the odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates.”Signers of this letter included Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Charles Gounod, Charles Garnier, Jean-Léon Gérôme, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Alexandre Dumas.
Novelist Guy de Maupassant—who claimed to hate the tower supposedly ate lunch in the Tower’s restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure. Today, the Tower is widely considered
to be a striking piece of structural art.
One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the tower. In reality, since zoning restrictions limit the height of most buildings in Paris to 7 stories, only a very few of the taller buildings have a clear view of the tower.
Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; it was to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line during the First Battle of the Marne.
Timeline of events
10 September 1889Thomas Edison visited the tower. He signed the guestbook with the following message—
To M Eiffel the Engineer the brave builder of so gigantic and original specimen of modern Engineering from one who has the greatest respect and admiration for all Engineers including the Great Engineer the Bon Dieu, Thomas Edison.
1910Father Theodor Wulf measured radiant energy at the top and bottom of the tower, discovering at the top more than was expected, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.4 February 1912Austrian tailor Franz Reichelt died after jumping 60 metres from the first deck of Eiffel tower with his home-made parachute.1914a radio transmitter located in the tower jammed german radio communications during the lead-up to the First Battle of the Marne1925The con artist Victor Lustig “sold” the tower for scrap metal on two separate, but related occasions.1930The tower lost the title of the world’s tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City.1925 to 1934Illuminated signs for Citroën adorned three of the tower’s four sides, making it the tallest advertising space in the world at the time.1940-1944Upon the German occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. In 1940 German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and was replaced by a smaller one. When visiting Paris, Hitler chose to stay on the ground. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. The lifts of the Tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris.3 January 1956A fire damaged the top of the tower.1957The present radio antenna was added to the top.1980sA restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; it was purchased and reconstructed on St. Charles Avenue and Joesphine Street in Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana, by entrepreneurs John Onorio and Daniel Bonnot, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, later as the Red Room and now as the Cricket Club (owned by the New Orleans Culinary Institute). The restaurant was re-assembled from 11,000 pieces that crossed the Atlantic in a 40-foot (12 m) cargo container.31 March 1984Robert Moriarty flew a Beechcraft Bonanza through the arches of the tower1987A.J. Hackett made one of his first bungee jumps from the top of the Eiffel Tower, using a special cord he had helped develop. Hackett was arrested by the Paris police upon reaching the ground14 July 1995Bastille Day, French synthesiser musician Jean Michel Jarre performed Concert For Tolerance at the tower in aid of UNESCO. The free concert was attended by an estimated 1.5 million people, filling the Champ de Mars. The concert featured lighting and projection effects on the tower, and a huge fireworks display throughout. Three years later he returned to the same spot for a more dance music-oriented show, Electronic Night.New Year’s Eve 1999The Eiffel Tower played host to Paris’ Millennium Celebration. Fireworks were set off all over the tower. An exhibition above a cafeteria on the first floor commemorates this event.2000Flashing lights and four 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.2002The tower received its 200,000,000th guest22 July 2003At 19:20, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after 40 minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.2004The Eiffel Tower began hosting an ice skating rink on the first floor each winter.2008At the start of the French presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2008, the twelve golden stars of the European flag were mounted on the base, and whole tower bathed in blue light. In addition, every hour on the hour, 20,000 flash bulbs give the tower a sparkly appearance.2009An explosion happens at the tower.
Main article: The 72 names on the Eiffel Tower
Gustave Eiffel engraved on the tower seventy-two names of French scientists, engineers and other notable people. This engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century but restored in 1986–1987 by the Société Nouvelle d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to
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