When Gustave Eiffel’s team erected Paris’ most iconic landmark for the 1889 World’s Fair, many were skeptical of the gigantic iron tower. Today, the Eiffel Tower, which still plays an essential role in television and radio broadcasts, is regarded as an architectural marvel and attracts more tourists than any other paid tourist attraction in the world.

The Design and Construction of the Eiffel Tower

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, Paris sponsored an Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) in 1889. More than 100 artists competed to design a monument constructed on the Champ-de-Mars in downtown Paris and serve as the exposition’s entrance. The project was awarded to Eiffel et Compagnie, a consulting and construction business owned by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the renowned bridge builder, architect, and metals specialist.

While Eiffel is sometimes given entire credit for the monument that bears his name, it was one of his workers, a structural engineer called Maurice Koechlin, who devised and refined the design. Several years before, the couple had worked together on the metal armature of the Statue of Liberty.

Did you know that? The Eiffel Tower’s base pillars are aligned with the four points of the compass.

Eiffel is said to have rejected Koechlin’s initial design for the tower instead of asking him to add more decorative embellishments. More than 18,000 pieces of puddle iron, a form of wrought iron used in the building, and 2.5 million rivets were required in the final design.

eifell tower designs

Several hundred men spent two years constructing the distinctive lattice tower, which stood approximately 1,000 feet tall when it was completed in March 1889 and was the highest structure in the world until the erection of New York City’s Chrysler Building in 1930. (In 1957, an antenna was installed, raising the structure 65 feet higher than the Chrysler Building but not the Empire State Building, which had overtaken it in 1931.) Initially, only the second-floor platform of the Eiffel Tower was exposed to the public; subsequently, all three floors, two of which presently house restaurants, would be accessible by a stairway or one of eight elevators.

Millions of tourists were amazed at Paris’ freshly built architectural wonder during and after the World’s Fair. However, not everyone in the city was as enthusiastic: many Parisians felt physically unsafe or thought it was ugly. For example, Guy de Maupassant supposedly despised the tower so much that he frequently ate lunch at the restaurant at its foot. The only vantage point from which he could totally avoid seeing its overhanging shadow.

The Eiffel Tower Has Been Made a Permanent Part of the Paris Skyline

The Eiffel Tower, originally meant as a temporary show was nearly demolished and dismantled in 1909. After understanding its usefulness as a radiotelegraph station, city officials decided to keep it. During World War I, the Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy radio transmissions, relayed zeppelin alarms, and transported emergency soldier reinforcements.

eifell tower construction

It evaded destruction a second time during WWII when Hitler ordered the demolition of the city’s most loved emblem, but the order was never carried out. During the German siege of Paris, French resistance fighters famously severed the elevator wires of the Eiffel Tower, forcing the Nazis to walk the steps.

Also Read, Best Places to Visit In Paris!

The Eiffel Tower has hosted several high-profile stunts, ceremonial occasions, and even scientific research throughout the years. For example, in 1911, the German scientist Theodor Wulf used an electrometer to detect higher quantities of radiation at its top than at its bottom, studying the impact of what is now known as cosmic rays. In addition, the Eiffel Tower has inspired more than 30 replicas and comparable buildings in locations across the world.

The Eiffel Tower, now one of the most famous landmarks globally, had a significant refurbishment in 1986 and is repainted every seven years. It attracts more tourists than any other paid monument globally, with an estimated 7 million people visiting each year. Some 500 people are in charge of the tower’s daily operations, including working in its restaurants, operating elevators, maintaining security, and managing the enthusiastic crowds who swarm to the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights.

Few Facts about Eiffel Tower you might now know

It was once Yellow

Even the Eiffel Tower, in stylish Paris, must keep up with current trends. The “Iron Lady” has modified her appearance throughout the years by using various paint colors. The Eiffel Tower was reddish-brown when it first debuted in 1889. It was painted yellow a decade later. Before adopting the present, carefully blended “Eiffel Tower Brown” in 1968, the tower was also yellow-brown and chestnut brown. Painters apply 60 tons of paint to the tower every seven years to keep it looking youthful. To enhance the structure’s silhouette against the canvas of the Parisian sky, the tower is painted in three colors that get brighter with height.

Parisian artists signed a petition against the “monstrous” tower.

Although it is now a worldwide emblem of romance, the daring design of the Eiffel Tower inspired anything but love in the hearts of 300 eminent Parisian artists and intellectuals who undersigned the following manifesto, which appeared on Valentine’s Day in 1887 in the Le Temps newspaper.

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“We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, passionate lovers of Paris’s beauty, until now intact, hereby protest with all our might, with all our indignation, in the name of French taste gone unrecognized, in the name of French art and history under threat, against the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower’s construction in the very heart of our capital.” The rant further claimed that the “giant black factory chimney” was so despised that “even commercial-minded America does not want” it.

The Eiffel Tower was rescued from demolition through radio.

Because Eiffel paid for 80% of the tower’s construction expenses, he was allowed to keep the project standing for 20 years to recoup his investment before it was handed over to the Parisian government, which planned to deconstruct it for scrap metal. Seeking a method to demonstrate the structure’s strategic use to save it, Eiffel constructed an antenna atop the tower and funded wireless telegraphy trials that began in 1898. The tower’s importance in transmitting and receiving wireless signals, notably for the French military, prompted the city to renew Eiffel’s concession when it expired in 1909.

Today, the tower’s more than 100 antennae transmit radio and television transmissions all over the world.

A scientific laboratory was placed in the tower.

In the tower’s first-level gallery, Eiffel engraved the names of 72 of the country’s scientists. Atop the structure, he assembled a laboratory used by himself and French scientists to research astronomy, meteorology, aerodynamics, and physiology, as well as test experiments such as Foucault’s Pendulum.

Eiffel erected an aerodynamic wind tunnel at the foot of the tower in 1909, which was used to conduct hundreds of experiments, including those on Wright Brothers airplanes and Porsche vehicles.

The Kalki Koechlin connection with Eiffel Tower

Maurice Koechlin, the name mentioned above might seem the same, but it actually is the same. 

maurice koechlin, kalki koechlin eifell tower

Kalki Koechlin has an odd relationship with the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Kalki Koechlin was born in India to French parents Joel Koechlin and Françoise Armandie, who immigrated from Angers, France. She was born in Pondicherry, India, but spent most of her youth in Auroville.

A little-known fact about the ‘Margarita With A Straw’ actress is that she is the great-granddaughter of Maurice Koechlin, the Chief Engineer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as well as the Statue of Liberty.