Now think, what was the first image that came to your head? The Eiffel Tower perhaps? The City of Lights most treasured landmark. Since 1889, the Eiffel Tower has taken over the street of Champs de Mars in Paris. What exactly is the most idolized landmark in Paris? How did it get there? What is it made of? Who created such a magnificent tower? The history of the Eiffel Tower is complex. But first to truly understand the significance of such a breath-taking tower, one needs to know about the World’s Fair of 1889.
The World’s Fair of 1889:
In the year if 1889, the World’s Fair was held in Paris, the capitol city of France. For that particular year, the World’s Fair had a purpose of exhibiting the progress and modernization the civilized world had undergone. The fair would be open for six months and would attract people from places around the globe such as Europe, South America, and the United States. The French decided to use and new and quite peculiar piece of architecture as their entrance arch called the Eiffel Tower. This new and interestingly odd tower located on the Champs de Mars was the central attraction of the World’s Fair in 1889. Traditionally, the World’s Fair does not make any profit, however the year of 1889 was different. Visitors spent over three hundred and twenty-four million dollars at the fair. The Eiffel Tower wowed the world at the fair, and has continued to wow the world years and years later. However, the creation of this marvelous tower of iron did not just appear on the streets of Paris over night for the spectators of the fair. The history of the Eiffel Tower includes a lot of iron, time, and dedication by a man that bears the last name of the tower herself.
The History of the Eiffel Tower:
On May 2, 1886 a competition was held by the Centennial Exposition Committee to build a structure to serve as the entrance to the World’s Fair. The Journal Officiel considered the idea of making an iron tower located on the Champs de Mars. French Civil Engineer Alexander-Gustave Eiffel took on the challenge of building such an innovative design. The creation of the tower was developed to display France’s advancements to the world, and Eiffel wanted to show France’s industrial potential. The Eiffel Tower was also built in commemoration of the French Revolution. In the past, many designs in France had been built with stone. In order to full demonstrate France’s progression in mechanical processes, Eiffel decided using metal was the best option for the tower. Eiffel believed wrought iron would be the most appropriate metal to use because of its flexibility and strength.
However, All was not sunshine and roses for Eiffel and his team while building the tower, many challenges were faced along the way. Eiffel’s employee Morris Koechlin created the initial design of the Eiffel Tower. However Alexander Eiffel rejected Koechiln’s plan stating that it lacked morality and elaborate features. Koechiln sat back and revaluated his plan and added more detail and pizazz to his design. Construction of the “Iron Lady” began in 1887 and was completed twenty-six months later, officially opening on March 31, 1889. When all was said and done, the $1.5 million Eiffel Tower stood 1,063 feet tall and weighed 10,100 tons, courtesy of its 18,038 parts.
Overall, the Eiffel Tower was a crucial part of the World’s Fair in 1889 and to Paris as a whole. The construction was not easy and was very time consuming but a dedicated and determined Gustave Eiffel and team created a Tower so influential its impact is still felt today.
Plumley, Karen. “The Construction of the Eiffel Tower.” Paris Eiffel Tower News. Paris Eiffel Tower News. Web. 29 Oct 2013
The Eiffel Tower: A Classic of Engineering. The Science News-Letter. Vol. 18, No. 488(Aug 16, 1930), pp. 107-108. Published by: Society for Science & the Public. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3905595
– Marley Charles