The Eiffel Tower is 300.65cm tall, 324 meters if you control the antenna spire. That's over
three times the height of Big Ben. So how was the Eiffel Tower built and why?
For the World's Fair in Paris in 1889 a competition was launched to design a tower that would
be the tallest structure in the world stretching 1000ft into the sky. To find out why we're
scared of heights click James' video here. Anyway, so engineers working under a guy called
Gustave Eiffel came up with a plan to design a metal frame structure. Probably because
Eiffel was such a big name in the world of engineering at the time they won the competition
and construction on the tower started in early 1887.
First up they had to lay the foundations and this involved creating 2m think concrete slabs
under each of the feet and putting them 7m underground. Now because two of the feet boarded
on the river Seine engineers were worried water would creep in, so they created metal
shoe structures which kept the water at bay. Next up they constructed the legs but they
needed to make sure they built them simultaneously because otherwise they could've ended up with
the leaning tower of Paris. Now to do this they have used hydraulic jacks under each
of the different legs, raising and lowering them to make sure that the first floor was
completely horizontal. So finally they had to create the main body
of the tower and to do this they shipped in 18,000 different parts that were prefabricated
in the factory and they put them together on site using 2.5 million rivets.
Now as the body of the tower grew up in size they actually had to get them up there somehow
and they did this using creeper cranes which ran up the legs of the tower and interestingly
the guide shafts of the creeper crane are actually the ones that are used today to zip
you up to the top. So just over two years after construction
started the tower was completed on the 31st March 1889 and Gustav Eiffel was the first
one to climb all the 1,710 steps all the way to the top where he unfurled the French flag
the Tricolour. Now fair enough he was the first person to do that because he actually
invested a shed load of his own money. But that investment paid off because from his
apartment actually on the tower he watched 2 million visitors in the first year alone
which equated to a million dollars' worth in ticket sales.
Now the tower was initially called the Pylon of 320m, then the 320m Tower, then the Tower
of Mr Eiffel, and finally The Eiffel Tower or La Tour Eiffel. But Parisians initially
didn't really like it. They saw it a a bit of an eyesore on the Paris landscape plus
some of them thought it would topple over and crash down ontop of their homes. But considering
this tower was supposed to be dismantled pretty much straight after it was built, it lasted
pretty well and it was actually the tallest structure in the world for 40 years. And of
course now it is a real icon of Paris.