The Eiffel Tower (French: La
Tour Eiffel, nickname La dame
de fer, the iron lady) is an iron
lattice tower located at Champ
de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889,
it has become both a global
icon of France and one of the
most recognizable structures in
the world. The tower is the
tallest building in Paris and the
most-visited paid monument in
the world; millions of people
ascend it every year. Named
for its designer, engineer
Gustave Eiffel, the tower was
built as the entrance arch to
the 1889 World's Fair.
The tower stands 324 metres
(1,063 ft) tall, about the same
height as an 81-story building.
Upon its completion, it
surpassed the Washingto
Monument to assume the title
of tallest man-made structure
in the world, a title it held for 41
years, until the Chrysler
Building in New York City was
built in 1930; however, due to
the addition in 1957 of the
antenna, the tower is now taller
than the Chrysler Building. Not
including broadcast antennas,
it is the second-tallest structure
in France after the 2004 Millau
The pig iron structure of the Eiffel
Tower weighs 7,300 tonnes while
the entire structure, including nonmetal components, is
approximately 10,000 tonnes. As a
demonstration of the economy of
design, if the 7,300 tonnes of the
metal structure were melted down
it would fill the 125 metre square
base to a depth of only 6 cm
(2.36 in), assuming the density of
the metal to be 7.8 tonnes per
cubic metre. Depending on the
ambient temperature, the top of
the tower may shift away from the
sun by up to 18 cm (7.1 in)
because of thermal expansion of
the metal on the side facing the
The structure was built between
1887 and 1889 as the
entrance arch for the
Exposition Universelle, a
World's Fair marking the
centennial celebration of the
French Revolution. Three
hundred workers joined
together 18,038 pieces of
puddled iron (a very pure
form of structural iron), using
two and a half million
rivetsMaurice Koechlin.
Eiffel was assisted in the
design by engineers Émile
Nouguier and Maurice
Koechlin and architect
Stephen Sauvestre. The risk
of accident was great as,
unlike modern skyscrapers,
the tower is an open frame
without any intermediate
floors except the two
platforms. However,
because Eiffel took safety
precautions, including the
use of movable stagings,
guard-rails and screens,
only one man died. The
tower was inaugurated on
31st March 1889, and
opened on 6 May.
Timeline of events
• 10th September 1889
– Thomas Edison visited the
tower. He signed the
guestbook with the
following message— To M
Eiffel 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.
• 4th February 1912
– Austrian tailor Franz
Reichelt died after
jumping 60 metres
from the first deck of
Eiffel tower with his
• 1940-1944Upon the German
occupation of Paris in 1940,
the lift cables were cut by the
French so that Adolf Hitler
would have to climb the steps
to the summit. The parts to
repair them were allegedly
impossible to obtain because
of the war. In 1940 German
soldiers had to climb to the top
to hoist the swastika, but the
flag was so large it blew away
just a few hours later, and was
replaced by a smaller one.
When visiting Paris, Hitler
chose to stay on the ground. It
was said that Hitler conquered
France, but did not conquer
the Eiffel Tower.
• A Frenchman scaled the tower
during the German occupation
to hang the French flag. In
August 1944, when the Allies
were nearing Paris, Hitler
ordered General Dietrich von
Choltitz, the military governor of
Paris, to demolish the tower
along with the rest of the city.
Von Choltitz disobeyed the
order. Some say Hitler was later
persuaded to keep the tower
intact so it could later be used
for communications. The lifts of
the Tower were working
normally within hours of the
Liberation of Paris.