History & construction of the Eiffel Tower

TOWER POWER

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, has serious celeb status. The Eiffel Tower was completed in March 1889. It is one the most famous monuments of all time. Nearly seven million people visit the Iron Lady site each year. The tower is not all that famous, but it has many incredible secrets. Here’s the scoop on Parisian highlights.

HIDDEN APARTMENT

You would live in the Eiffel tower if you were in charge. Gustave Eiffel designed the iconic landmark and built a tiny apartment in the upper level. It was adorned with plush rugs and oil paintings as well as a grand piano. Thomas Edison, a superstar scientist, was among the few who were permitted to tour. It was unoccupied since Eiffel’s death in 1920. However, many people didn’t know about it until 2015 when they opened the pad to public view.

SKY LAB

Looking up from the Eiffel Tower, it seems the best place to observe weather patterns and the stars. It’s no surprise that Eiffel created two laboratories at the top of the Eiffel Tower where meteorologists and astonomers could collaborate. Eiffel also conducted experiments. Eiffel conducted his own experiments to learn how objects react against air. He dropped cords attached to items from the second floor of the tower, approximately 380 feet above ground.

the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is one of Paris’s most famous attractions.

GREEN SCENE

This landmark might be renamed Eco Tower. Two wind turbines were installed on the second floor of the Iron Lady in 2015. This was done to make the Iron Lady more environmentally-friendly. The devices turn wind into electricity, which is used to power the tower’s restaurants and shops. An automated system also was set up for collecting and channeling rainwater to the tower’s toilets.

Every night, 20,000 bulbs light up the Eiffel Tower.PHOTOGRAPH BY MARIA79/ ADOBE STOCK

FAIR FRENZY

Officially opening the Eiffel Tower at the 1889 fair was a historic moment. First held in London, England, in 1851, world’s fairs showcased cutting-edge inventions, architecture, and art from around the globe. Many “futuristic”, inventions were revealed at the events, such as the Ferris wheel and televisions. Each three-year cycle, the world’s fair (now called an expo) is held in a new country or city around the world.

SPY HIGH

Doubled as an agent secret, the Eiffel Tower was used! During World War I—a worldwide conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918—the French military used the tower’s radio and telegraph center to communicate with ground troops and battleships. The tower also intercepted enemy communications. The tower received a 1916 message from the Mata Hari, a female spy. France’s military captured the information and tracked the suspect down.

CONTACT ALL DAREDEVILS

People visit the Eiffel tower for the spectacular view. Some people visit the Eiffel Tower for their breathtaking views. Others seek out more thrilling thrills. One man, in 1889, walked on stilts up 704 of the tower’s steps. From ropes suspended without nets, three trapeze performers swung 400ft above the ground from 1952. A man roller-skated from the platform set up underneath the tower’s second level and down the ramp that is 90 feet tall to the ground in 2010.

The Eiffel Tower’s elevators run on a gigantic pulley system.PHOTOGRAPH PHOTOGRAPH BYZEFART / ADOPTED STOCK

TRUE COLORS

The Eiffel Tower has had a colorful history—literally. Original structure was made of dark red. The original structure was dark red. It was then painted yellow in 1899. The tower was first coated with bronze paint 50 years ago. The Eiffel Tower is now covered with almost 16,000 gallons paint.

THE EIFFEL TOWER BY NETWORK NUMBERS

• When the tower opened in the 19th century, it was the world’s tallest building at 1,024 feet (312.11 meters).

• The Eiffel Tower has 1,665 stairs and three viewing platforms.

• Nearly 50 miles of electric cables cover the structure.

• There are 120 antennas atop the Eiffel Tower.

• The tower is made of 18,000 iron pieces bolted together by over 2.5 million rivets.

• 20,000 light bulbs illuminate the landmark every night.

Text by Sean McCollum National Geographic Kids February 2016 issue of magazine

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