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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Eiffel Tower

In 1886 the French government held a competition to design an “iron tower” to be erected at the entrance to the exhibition on the Champ-de-Mars, partly to create an impressive experience for visitors. One hundred and seven plans were submitted, and the winner was one by the engineer Gustav Eiffel.

The tower was built despite protests from 300 leading French writers and artists who saw it as a “hateful column of bolted sheet metal”.

The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889 and a group of government officials, accompanied by representatives of the press were taken to the top of the tower. The lifts in the tower were not yet operating, so they went up the stairs on foot. It took more than an hour. The lifts entered service on May 26th.

Eiffel Tower in 1888.

The Eiffel Tower, which took two years to build and was derided by critics, was officially opened to the public on March 31, 1889.

The Eiffel Tower was only supposed to last 20 years. It only survived because the military started using it as a radio tower, intercepting crucial military transmissions during World War I.

The Eiffel Tower still exists today because Choltitz, a German infantry general, refused direct orders from Hitler to destroy it.

The tower was made of 18,038 pieces joined by two-and-a-half million rivets.

It is 934ft high, plus a 79ft of antenna, but this can vary by as much as six inches in the summer heat.

The top of the Eiffel Tower leans away from the sun, as the metal facing the sun heats up and expands and can move as much as 7 inches.

There are 1,665 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is actually painted three different shades of brown.

The Eiffel Tower requires 50-60 tons of paint every six to seven years.

In the 1920s, the confidence trickster Victor Lustig twice sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal.

The Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years.  It was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.

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In 1988, Californian engineering professor Joe King made a 23ft-high exact replica of the Eiffel Tower out of 110,000 toothpicks.

The Eiffel Tower is second only to the Golden Gate Bridge as a suicide location.

In 2005 Paris’ first digital television signals were broadcast from the Tower.

The Eiffel Tower is not fully illuminated 24/7, and actually shuts off the lights at 1AM to conserve power.

It is illegal to take photographs of the Eiffel Tower at night.

Sources Daily Mail, Daily Express

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