The Eiffel Tower, is one of the most famous landmarks around the world. It may not be tall by today’s standards at 985 feet, but it did manage to hold the record for the highest structure in the world for an amazing 40 years.
The World Fair was being held in Paris in 1889 and a competition was launched to find a structure that would best make the World Fair stand out. Gustave Eiffel’s company was one of many who entered the competition and his companies design ultimately won.
The Eiffel Tower was named after the Gustave Eiffel; indeed most of the finance needed for the build was made by Gustave Eiffel, with the rest paid for by France. However, the Eiffel Tower was actually designed by one of Gustave Eiffel’s engineering employees, Morris Koechlin. There’s a little known fact that Morris Koechlin was involved in the original framework design for the Statue of Liberty.
Having been built as the center piece for the 1889 World Fair there was every intention of dismantling it at some point shortly after. The Eiffel Tower was basically set as being the entrance to the World Fair and the top of the tower could be seen many miles away.
Look closely at the structure of the Eiffel Tower and you will see that it is basically triangles within triangles; a triangle is the strongest structure. It soon became clear that apart from looking after the protective paintwork there was little maintenance required.
It became a landmark that people from all over France and the world would travel to see. People wanted to climb the iron steps to the top and take in the view so entrance fees began to be charged. Originally the Eiffel Tower did not have elevators, but there were two platforms on the way up allowing people to rest for a while before beginning the climb to the next platform. The first platform is 189 feet above ground level while the second platform is 380. Seeing as the top platform is 906 feet high you can see that the climb from platform two to the top is two-thirds of the total height.
Gustave’s tower became so popular that the money spent building it was recouped in a couple of years. Since those days lifts have been installed making the journey to the top a little easier, although anyone is still perfectly welcome to use the steps.
Over the years it became a place where people would make a point and jump from the top to their death below. As a result it became necessary to cover the tower with railings so that this could not happen. Although it doesn’t detract from the structure, when viewed from a distance it does give a caged in effect when you climb to the top.
Nonetheless, it was an amazing feat of engineering which has stood the test of time.
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