Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower
Image:Tour eiffel at sunrise from the trocadero.jpg
Location Paris, France
Status Complete
Constructed 1889
Use Observation tower
Antenna/Spire 320.57 (1052 ft)
Roof 300.65 m (986 ft)
Architect Gustave Eiffel
Engineer Gustave Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower (pronounced /'aifəl'taʊɚ/; French: La Tour Eiffel, pronounced /'tur,e'fel/) is an iron tower built on the Champ de Mars beside the River Seine in Paris. It is the tallest structure in Paris and possibly the most recognized symbol in the world. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, it is the most visited monument in the world; 6,428,441 people visited the tower in 2005 and more than 200,000,000 since his construction. Including the 20.75 m (70 ft) antenna, the structure is 320.75 m (1070 ft) high which is about 81 stories. In 1902, it was struck by lightning, which caused builders to reconstruct 300 feet of the top. The lights illuminating the tower also had to be replaced, due to short-circuiting.

At the time of its construction in 1889, the tower replaced the Washington Monument as the world's tallest structure in the world, a title it retained until 1930, when New York City's Chrysler Building (1063.33 ft tall) was completed. The tower is the second-highest structure in France, after the Allouis longwave transmitter, built in 1930. The Eiffel Tower is the highest structure in Paris, the second-highest structure in Paris is the Tour Montparnasse.

The structure of the Eiffel Tower weighs 7,300 tons. There are 1660 steps. It is not possible for the public to reach the summit via the stairs, elevators are required beyond the second platform.

Depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by up to 3.25 inches, due to thermal expansion of the metal on the side facing the sun.

Maintenance of the tower includes applying 50/60 tons of three graded tones of paint every seven years to protect it from rust. On occasion, the color of the paint is changed — the tower is currently painted a shade of brownish-gray. However, few people realize that the tower is actually painted three different colors in order to make it look the same color. The colors change from dark to light from top to bottom, but it looks the same because of the background (the sky being light and the ground being dark). On the first floor, there are interactive consoles hosting a poll for the color to use for a future session of painting. The co-architech of the Eiffel Tower is Isabel Vraca, Helena and Glenn Danzig


[edit] Background

Image:Tour Eiffel 1878.jpg
Eiffel Tower under construction in July 1888.

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. It is located at geographic coordinates 48°51′29″N, 2°17′40″E. The tower was inaugurated on March 31, 1889, and opened on May 6th. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using three and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The risk of accident was great, for unlike modern skyscrapers the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. Yet because Eiffel took safety precautions including use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died, during the installation of Otis Elevator's lifts.

The tower was met with resistance from the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. (Novelist Guy de Maupassant ate at a restaurant at the tower regularly, because it was the one place in Paris he was sure he wouldn't see it. Today, it is widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art.

One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the tower. In reality, since zoning restrictions limit the height of most buildings in Paris to a few storeys, only the very few taller buildings have a clear view of the tower.

Originally, Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years, meaning it would have had to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line of the Marne, and it therefore became a victory statue of that battle. It was also used to catch the infamous "Mata Hari", and after this, its demolition became unthinkable.

[edit] Installations

Image:Eiffel closeup.jpg
The lace-like iron detailing.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the tower has been used for radio transmission. Until the 1950s, an occasionally modified set of antenna wires ran from the summit to anchors on the Avenue de Suffren and Champ de Mars. They were connected to long-wave transmitters in small bunkers; in 1909, a permanent underground radio center was built near the south pillar and still exists today. During the German occupation of Paris between 1940 and 1944 the tower was also used for German television broadcasts, which were apparently intended mostly for wounded German soldiers in local military hospitals. Since 1957, the tower has been used for transmission of FM radio and television.

The tower has two restaurants: Altitude 95, on the first floor (95 m above sea level); and the Jules Verne, an expensive gastronomical restaurant on the second floor, with a private elevator. This restaurant has one star in the Michelin Red Guide.

[edit] Events

Looking down from the top observation deck.

Father Theodor Wulf in 1910 took observations of radiant energy radiating at the top and bottom of the tower, discovering at the top more than was expected, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.

In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the tower for scrap.

Image:Tour Eiffel Citroen.jpg
The Eiffel Tower served as a billboard for Citroën from 1925 to 1934.

In 1930, the tower lost the title of the world's tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City.

From 1925 to 1934, illuminated signs for Citroën adorned three of the tower's four sides, making it the tallest billboard in the world at the time.

Upon the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war, though they were working again within hours of the departure of the Nazis. Soldiers had to climb all the way to the top to hoist the swastika from the top, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and they had to go back up again with a smaller one. Hitler chose to stay on the ground. 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. He disobeyed the order, because he didn't want to go down in history as the man who destroyed the Eiffel Tower and the rest of Paris.

On January 3, 1956, a fire damaged the top of the tower.

In 1959 the present radio antenna was added to the top.

In the 1980s an old restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; it was purchased and reconstructed in New Orleans, Louisiana, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, known more recently as the Red Room.

On New Years's Eve 1999, the Eiffel Tower played host to Paris' Millenium Celebration. Fireworks exploded from the whole length of the tower in a spectacular display that made it one of the highlights of the celebration worldwide.

In 2000, flashing lights and four high-power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.

The tower received its 200,000,000th guest on November 28, 2002. It's the world's most visited monument.

At 7:20 p.m. on July 22, 2003, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after 40 minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.

Since 2004, the Eiffel Tower has hosted an ice skating rink on the first floor during the winter period. Skating is free and it offers a fine view of southern Paris.

[edit] The 72 names

On the Eiffel Tower, seventy two names of French scientists, engineers and some other notable people are engraved in recognition of their contributions by Gustave Eiffel. This engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century and restored in 1986-1987 by Société Nouvelle d'exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to operate business related to the Tower. The Tower is owned by the city of Paris.

[edit] Image copyright claims

Image:Eiffel tower.jpg
The tower and gardens.

Images of the tower have long been in the public domain; however, in 2003 SNTE installed a new lighting display on the tower. The effect was to put any night-time image of the tower and its lighting display under copyright. As a result, it was no longer legal to publish contemporary photographs of the tower at night without permission in some countries.<ref>In the United States, for example, 17 USC 120(a) explicitly permits the publication of photographs of copyrighted architecture in public spaces. In Germany this is known as Panoramafreiheit.</ref>

The imposition of copyright has been controversial. The Director of Documentation for SNTE, Stéphane Dieu, commented in January 2005, "It is really just a way to manage commercial use of the image, so that it isn't used in ways we don't approve." However, it also potentially has the effect of prohibiting tourist photographs of the tower at night from being published<ref>http://blog.fastcompany.com/archives/2005/02/02/eiffel_tower_repossessed.html</ref> as well as hindering non profit and semi-commercial publication of images of the tower.

In a recent decision, the Court of Cassation ruled that copyright could not be claimed over images including a copyrighted building if the photograph encompassed a larger area. This seems to indicate that SNTE cannot can claim copyright on photographs of Paris incorporating the lit tower.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] In pop culture

As a globally recognizable landmark the Eiffel Tower is featured in many popular media including movies, videogames, and books.

[edit] Similar towers and reproductions

[edit] Similar towers (not scale models)

In order of decreasing height:

[edit] Reproductions

In order of decreasing height:

[edit] Scale models

[edit] Eiffel Tower Model made from Glass Bangle pieces

A 5 feet model of Eiffel tower was made by Mr. Pervez Kanga (Ahmedabad, India) completely from pieces of glass bangles. This model was gifted to Mr. Jack Chirac (than Ambassador to India) on the 100 years celebration of the Eiffel tower.

(This model was shipped to France to be displayed in a museum in Paris. But Mr. Kanga has not been informed as to which museum it has been housed. If any one has seen this model please paste the details here.)

The Heller company sells an unassembled 1:650 scale plastic model of the Tower under reference 81201; it is about 49 cm (19 inches) tall when assembled.

Paper scale model by Paperlandmarks is 36 cm (14 inches) tall when assembled.

The Matchitecture company sells an Eiffel tower Kit with over 1000 matchsticks and a finished height of 71 cm (28 inches). Matchsticks must each be cut to length and angle before being glued into position on the full-size templates, requiring dozens of hours of meticulous work. For kit sources try Google Search

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes


[edit] References

  • Frémy, Dominique, Quid de la Tour Eiffel, Robert Lafont, Paris (1989) — out of print

[edit] External links

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