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11 Facts about Eiffel Tower you did not know

These facts will blow away your mind!

Photo Credit: Grillot Edouard

Eiffel Tower is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, there is much more to it than what catches our eye. It is one of the most iconic monuments’ in the world – the marvel embodies the nation of France. It is a worldwide cultural symbol for the French and the most visited monument in the world. Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, is repainted every seven years. The tower is well known everywhere, with it being initially constructed as the entrance for the world fair in 1889. The following facts and stories about its construction, its significance in the world war etc are fascinating.

Eiffel Tower - Old Photo
Eiffel Tower – Old Photo

The following eleven amazing facts will make the Eiffel Tower even more special for you:

11. It was the tallest structure for 41 years

When Eiffel Tower was opened for public in 1930, it was the tallest structure on the planet, and that lasted for 41 years, until the completion of “Chrysler” in 1930, the skyscraper got ahead with just 18 meters. However, if the length of the 24-meter antenna of the Eiffel tower is added to the length of the Eiffel tower, the “Chrysler” is left behind. To this day the 324 meters structure, is the 5th largest building in France and 28th in the world.

10. Gustave Eiffel did not design the Eiffel tower. What? then who did?

Gustave Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel, after whom the structure is named, did not design the tower. Shocking, right? The design was sketched by Maurice Koechlin in May of 1884, while he was working from home. It is known that Koechlin was the senior engineer in the firm planning for Eiffel Tower’s architecture at that time. Before designing the Eiffel tower, Koechlin was working with Emile Nouguier to design a monument for the Exposition Universelle. The exposition was planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

Koechlin took tips from the statue of Liberty and the Arc De Triomphe. Well, all of this shows that Koechlin was determined to design something world class from the start. The idea gained Eiffel’s support for the project, and he bought the rights to the patent on the design which Koechlin, Nougier, and Sauvestre had taken out.

9. Only one person died in the construction of the Eiffel tower

Construction of Eiffel Tower
Construction of Eiffel Tower

Deaths in large-scale construction was a sad reality at the beginning of the Industrial Age. There were massive deaths in the construction of Titanic but miraculously only one during the construction of the Eiffel Tower. The history tells us that Gustave was very careful about the 300 people he appointed to work on the site of the tallest building ever made by a man at that time. Creeper cranes were employed by the Eiffel’s firm that’d help in moving up the tower as the construction progressed. The technology used in the construction of the Eiffel tower was as modern as the idea!

8. The Eiffel tower was supposed to be torn down in 1919.

Wait. What!?! The original contract of the Eiffel tower had permitted the Eiffel tower to stand for only 20 years, so it was supposed to be dismantled in 1909 as the ownership was given to the city of Paris. The contract also stated that the monument should be constructed, such that it could be torn down easily. But as the tower was proved useful for communication purposes and weather determination, it was allowed to stay. The Eiffel tower is also a victory statue of the first battle of Marne as it was used to Parisian taxis to the front line.

7. A con man named Victor Lustig sold the Eiffel tower – TWICE!

Victor Lustig
Victor Lustig

We’re not lying. As the years passed the Eiffel Tower became famous throughout the world. Victor Lustig, a conman sold the Eiffel tower, not once but twice!! After 1925, taking care of the Eiffel Tower was a difficult task. Keeping it painted and prevented rusting proved to be cumbersome. The facts say that Lustig developed his contract from the information he had and sold the tower as scrap!

Andre Poisson was the scrap dealer who was targeted by Lustig, and he was made to believe that Lustig was a corrupt government dealer, so he bribed him as well as paying money for the tower. And then Lustig and his partners fled to Vienna with a suitcase full of money! Poisson was too embarrassed to press charges. Too happy with all the money, Lustig couldn’t resist from trying his luck again. This time the person he tried to fool pressed charges, but Lustig had already disappeared with all the money. Good Work Lustig!

6. Gustave Eiffel compared his tower to the Pyramids of Egypt.

Gustave Eiffel
Gustave Eiffel

Though it took some time for Gustave to take in Koechlin’s design, he was pretty impressed by it once he decided to construct the monument. While it is considered to be a fantastic work of art today, it was opposed by the artists of the 19th century based on the drawings that were exhibited. There were tensions between the artists and the engineers as the artists thought that the Eiffel tower was too much engineering and very less art to be considered a good architecture.

To this, Eiffel responded by saying that the Tower is like the Pyramids of Egypt. Well, he wasn’t wrong as at that time Pyramids were one of the largest man-made structures on Earth. Now, these oppositions are nothing more than a distant memory as the Eiffel tower is looked upon by the artists all over the world as an inspiration.

5. Public funds could only cover 1/4th of the total construction cost.

When Eiffel signed the contract to build the largest structure made by man, he did so personally and not on behalf of his company. The public funds could only suffice 1/4th of the total construction cost. Thus, Eiffel was promised to receive all the money generated from the commercial use of the tower in an exhibition for 20 years. Eiffel set up another company just to look into the monetary matters of the tower. To him, The Eiffel Tower was a monumental investment.

4. The Tower is wind resistant.

The curvature of the upright is determined to provide world-class wind resistance to the tower. It was made resistant up to five times the highest recorded wind speed of the time.

As Eiffel himself explains: “All the cutting force of the wind passes into the interior of the leading-edge uprights. Lines drawn tangential to each upright with the point of each tangent at the same height will always intersect at a second point, which is exactly the point through which passes the flow resultant from the action of the wind on that part of the tower support situated above the two points in question. Before coming together at the high pinnacle, the uprights appear to burst out of the ground, and in a way to be shaped by the action of the wind.”

3. Thomas Alva Edison visited the tower.

Thomas Alva Edison visited the Eiffel tower and was super impressed with its beauty and architecture. His writings can be found in the guest book, “To the Engineer the brave builder of so gigantic and original specimen of modern Engineering from one who has the greatest respect and admiration for all Engineers including the Great Engineer the Bon Dieu, Thomas Edison.”

2. Over 200 million people have visited the Eiffel Tower

As a permanent part of the Paris skyline, this work of art and engineering is visited by millions of tourists every year. Lifts were installed a while after the debut of the Eiffel tower. The tower is painted every seven years and requires tonnes of paint, and the lifts have been modified and upgraded. Communication lines, radio antennas, TV broadcast equipment’s were added to the tower to suffice the technological needs in the 1900s. Now, lights have been added to the tower to light up the Paris skyline at night. And we promise it’s a breath-taking view.

1. Its ILLEGAL to take photos of Eiffel Tower at night. Yes, you heard us right!

Shut your Instagram App and your cameras at night before clicking a picture of the Eiffel tower. Why? Because it’s illegal to take pictures of the Eiffel tower at night. It’s all about the dazzle. The European Union states that an artistic work is protected under law during the life time of its creator plus 70 years. The creator of The Eiffel tower died in 1923 and the pictures of Eiffel tower started surfacing the internet in 1993, thus, Las Vegas has its own Eiffel Tower now.

But the lights were not installed until 1985 and that’s considered a piece of art work too. So it’s still in its copyright protection period. Surprisingly no one has ever been called to the court for taking pictures of the Eiffel tower at night, so be a rule breaker and click pictures, just don’t blame us if you are ever called in to the court – you have been warned!

Construction of Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: La tour de 300 mètres (Wikipedia)

Below is the description of the construction site of the Eiffel Tower as described by a journalist:

“A thick cloud of tar and coal smoke seized the throat, and we were deafened by the din of metal screaming beneath the hammer. Over there they were still working on the bolts: workmen with their iron bludgeons, perched on a ledge just a few centimeters wide, took turns at striking the bolts (these were the rivets). One could have taken them for blacksmiths contentedly beating out a rhythm on an anvil in some village forge, except that these smiths were not striking up and down vertically, but horizontally, and as with each blow came a shower of sparks, these black”

Today, the Eiffel tower is seen as an inspiration by the artists and engineers throughout the world, as predicted by Eiffel. It sends the same ideals of The French Revolution freedom and liberty to the millions of people visiting it daily. Thus, the Eiffel tower is truly dedicated to the French Revolution.

Which facts about Eiffel Tower fascinated you the most? Do share them in the comments below.

What do you think?

Written by Shefali Ahuja

I love travelling not only because it's the ultimate adventure but also because the exposure to new places, new people, new cuisines can be reviving.


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