Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Eiffel Tower

Built between 1887 and 1889, the Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the most recognizable stuctures in the world. Originally designed for a Universal Exposition in Barcelona, it was rejected by the Spaniards as too strange and not in keeping with the architecture of their city. Instead, it was built as the entrance to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, marking the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. When completed, it was the tallest structure in the world and held that title until the Chrysler Building in New York City was completed in 1930.

Designed and engineered by Gustave Eiffel, a renowned bridge builder, it is built of iron, an open tower, eighty-one stories tall with only two platforms. The original permit allowed it to stand for twenty years, and then be removed. It was designed with this stipulation in mind. Once its benefits as a communications tower were realized, it was allowed to remain.

Fifty tons of paint are applied every seven years to stop rust and the paint is applied in three different colors, dark at the bottom and light at the top, to maintain a uniform appearance from the ground.

The photograh shows the Tower being stuck by lightning in 1902. The top 330 feet had to be repaired and exterior lighting replaced.

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