The Eiffel Tower is the most popular landmark in the entire Europe and one of the most iconic in the world. It is quite unthinkable today that it was originally hated by a number of known creative people in France while it was being built, calling it a monstrous, useless piece of steel. The good thing is that the rest of France loved the tower, and most importantly, the negative criticism died a natural death when it was finished. Today, it is a testament of man’s ingenuity and passion for exploring possibilities.
Let us look at the interesting facts surrounding the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower Facts
1. The Eiffel Tower took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days to finish
Construction work began on the 28th of January 1887 and was finished on the 31st of March 1889. Around 600 workers, at some point, were hired to help build it with 150 working in the Levallois-Peret factory and the rest were assigned on the construction site.
2. It was named in honor of Gustave Eiffel, but it was not his design
The Eiffel Tower was named after Gustave Eiffel whose company, Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel, the project was awarded to, but he was not its designer. It was the brainchild of his chief engineers, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier. In fact, he had little interest in the project when the idea was first presented to him, but he supported the project, an interesting fact about Eiffel Tower. He directed them to go to Stephen Sauvestre, the company’s chief architect, to help with the design. When the design was finally done, he stepped in and bought the patent rights.
3. The Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world for nearly half a century
From the time of its completion in 1889 up to 1930, this popular landmark was the world’s tallest building, a fun Eiffel Tower fact. With a towering height of 984 feet excluding the antennae that was later added, it held the tallest title for 41 years until the Chrysler Building was constructed in New York measuring at 1,046 feet.
4. The antennae on top of the structure saved it from being destroyed
The government planned to tear down the Eiffel Tower after Gustave Eiffel recouped the money he used to build the tower. Eiffel was given the right to operate it for 20 years. The government felt it was just a useless structure and wanted the metal to be reused for something else. Eiffel then added an antenna on top of the tower and experimented with telegraphic messages. It proved to be very useful, and the government renewed the contract with him.
5. The Eiffel Tower’s height kept on changing depending on the seasons
Wrought iron was used in building the tower and because of that, it expands depending on the environment. Each year, when seasons change in Paris, it changes its height, an interesting fact about the Eiffel Tower. During summer, the metal expands when exposed to too much heat and the Eiffel Tower rises up for about 6.75 inches, and it shrinks back during winter.
6. It was built to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the fall of Bastille
The French government announced an open competition for creative French people to submit an impressive design to be used as entrance arch for the Paris World Fair in 1889. The structure would be built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the fall of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution. The event is similar on how the Americans celebrate 4th of July.
7. No working elevators when Eiffel Tower opened to the public in 1889
The French fairgoers needed to climb the 1,710 steps to be able to explore the Eiffel Tower during the Opening Day of the Paris World Fair. The elevators only started operating 20 days after.
8. This French iconic tower changed colors around 5 times
An interesting fact about the Eiffel Tower is that it was originally painted reddish-brown. After 10 years, it was painted in yellow. Then it became yellow-brown, after which they decided to change it to chestnut brown. Finally, in 1968, the French created a special paint mix called, “Eiffel Tower Brown” and it is repainted with this color every seven years.
9. The Eiffel Tower was used as a laboratory by Gustave Eiffel
For 20 years after completion, while the license to operate was still his, Gustave Eiffel made sure that the government would be convinced not to tear it down. First thing he did was to carve the names of 72 important contributors to the study of Science on the edge of the floor. He used it as a laboratory and invited known scientists to conduct a wide array of experiments in it.
10. It is home to entertainment facilities, public and private offices
The Eiffel Tower is not just a major tourist attraction in Paris, but it houses a theatre, a post office, a newspaper office, restaurants, and during winter, an ice rink can be found on the first level of the tower.
11. The main numbers that defined Eiffel Tower
The tower’s original height was 1024 feet but due to certain adjustments, it is currently at 1063 feet with the first floor at 187 feet, second floor at 377 feet, and the third floor at 906 feet. There are 5 operating lifts, one climbs up from the Esplanade to the 2nd floor and the other four are used from the 2nd floor to the top level. The total weight of the entire Eiffel Tower is 10,100 tons with 2,500,000 rivets used.
12. The tower has a secret apartment in it
One of the perks that Gustave Eiffel enjoyed in the Eiffel Tower was an apartment he built on the top floor. It started as a secret, but when other people learned about it, some of them offered a huge amount of money just to be able to rent the space, an interesting Eiffel Tower fact. It was where he would entertain other notable scientists such as Thomas Edison.
The Eiffel Tower is undeniably one of the most-loved iconic structures in the world, and Paris has attracted several millions of tourists every year because of it. It is one of the highest paid monuments in the world.
I hope that this article on Eiffel Tower facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Important Places Page!