Secrets of the Eiffel Tower

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel built one of the most recognizable structures in Paris, France for the 1889 world fair. The structure was originally supposed to be temporary and consisted of 18,000 iron pieces, 1,710 steps, and has an unfurled French tricolor flag flying from us pinnacle.  Many people have experienced the Eiffel Tower from a distance, either through television, movies, or even photographs, but few have actually gotten up close to see the structure for themselves. There 10 things you may not know about the Eiffel tower that could make for good dinner conversation the next time you meet up with friends and family.

The Eiffel Tower used to be yellow.  

The Eiffel tower is also known as “Lady Iron” and has changed her look throughout the decades. When the lady iron was first built in 1889, the structure was a reddish brown color. About 10 years later, the Eiffel Tower was painted again, but this time yellow. In 1968, lady iron adopted the yellow-brown and chestnut brown colors it currently has.  Every seven years the Eiffel tower gets a touch-up consisting of 60 tons of new paint to keep it looking new and fresh. The tower is painted in progressively lighter shades with darker shades at the bottom and lighter shades closer to the pinnacle.

The Eiffel Tower was built to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution.

The world fair of 1889 was held in Paris France in order to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the battle of Bastille, which launched the French revolution. Organizers held an open competition inviting architects of multiple disciplines to submit proposals that would be displayed as a spectacular centerpiece. Mr. Eiffel was just one out of 17 architects to submit proposals.

The Eiffel Tower was the worlds tallest structure for 40 years.

Prior to the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the worlds tallest building was the Washington Monument, which stands at 555 feet. The Eiffel Tower surpassed that height and remained the worlds tallest building for decades. It was not until 1930 when the Chrysler building in New York was built at a height of 1046 feet that Lady Iron lost her title.  Eventually the Eiffel tower eclipsed the Chrysler building in height when they added an antenna in 1957.  Despite the Iron Lady’s attempt to regain her title as the worlds tallest structure, the Empire State building in New York City, New York would be the worlds tallest building.

The Eiffel Tower was once the worlds largest billboard.

From 1925 to 1936, the French automobile company Citroen, used 250,000 colored light bulbs attached the three sides of the tower steeple to spell the company‘s name in 100 foot vertical letters. The advertisement was so bright that you could see it from nearly 20 miles away. As a matter fact, Charles Lindbergh use the Tower’s illuminated letters to guide him when he landed in Paris in 1927 after completing a solo transatlantic flight.

Mr. Eiffel played a part in designing the Statue of Liberty.

In 1879, the original designer of the Statue of Liberty’s interior elements suddenly died. French sculptor, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdihired, hired Mr. Eiffel to continue the work. Because Eiffel had already garnered notoriety for building the Iron Lady, he was asked to design the skeletal support system over which the copper skin of the Statue of Liberty would be laid.  In Paris, France, there is a smaller model of the Statue of Liberty located on the island in the River Seine, just beyond the Eiffel Tower.

Check back next week for a continuation of this article with additional secrets of the Eiffel Tower.