The Eiffel Tower was built for the World’s Fair in 1889. It was designed as a cross-braced, latticed girder with minimum wind resistance. Constructed from over 6300 metric tons (7000 tons) of highest quality wrought iron, it is a masterpiece of wrought-iron technology.
civil engineer and constructor, is famous for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He
studied at the École Central des Arts et Manufactures, where he demonstrated
his interest in metal construction, graduated in Chemical Engineering and
in 1866 founded his own company. He directed the building of an iron railway
bridge at Bordeaux and the design of the movable dome of the observatory at
Nice. He finished his greatest project, the Eiffel Tower, in 1889, in time
for the Centennial Exposition, causing commotion and amazement among the artists
of the period and the world in general. His next large-scale project was the
ABOUT THE EIFFEL TOWER
Over the last several years, DE has had many inquiries about the Eiffel Tower. Here are a few little known facts.
Tower was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel who was a chemical engineer
by education. Eiffel was hired by a rail manufacturing company and began practicing
civil engineering at age 25 as the Project Engineer of a bridge spanning the
Garrone River at Bordeaux. The Eiffel Tower was denounced as an eyesore when
first proposed and was called the "tragic lamppost" and "Grande
Suppositaire" by the press. At 990 feet tall, the Eiffel tower almost
doubled the height of the tallest man-made structures to date; the Washington
Monument at 554 feet high, and the Great Pyramid of Cheops at 482 feet. The
wrought iron tower ushered in a new age of tall buildings constructed of iron
The tower was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and was the center-piece of the Exposition Universelle of 1889. Construction began in January 1887 and was completed on 31 March 1889.
Eiffel directed a team of 50 engineers in the design and detailing of the
structure. The field workforce consisted of 100 fabricators and 130 erectors
who took 15 months to build the world's tallest structure. The world's record
structure height is now held by many guyed towers that reach heights just
over 2,000 feet tall. The world's tallest self-supporting structure is the
CN Tower completed in 1976 by the Canadian National Railways, stands 1815
feet 5 inches tall, and is constructed of reinforced concrete. The world's
tallest occupied office/residential buildings are the Petronas Towers in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, standing at 1,483 feet tall, and are also constructed of
The Eiffel Tower consists of 9,547 tons of wrought iron comprising 18,000 members, and has 2.5 million rivets. Individual structural components have a maximum assembled weight of 3 tons. The tower is supported by concrete caissons measuring 50 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 7 feet deep. Forty-five (45) tons of zinc-rich paint are applied to the tower every 7 years. The iron arch under the first platform level serves no structural purpose and was added to the tower after the platform was in place.
Tower is privately owned and has always been operated for profit as a commercial
enterprise. Immediately following its completion, people were charged a fee
to travel to various heights on the tower. A trip to the top cost 5 francs,
and 1.9 million people paid for the privilege in the first year following
its completion. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the construction cost was recovered
in the first year. The tower now also serves as a communication structure
and supports radio and television broadcast equipment.
A.G. Eiffel was also the lead engineer for many more great works in his lifetime. Some noteworthy projects include: the Garabit Bridge which rises 400 feet above the Truyere River, the Nice Observatory, the Bon Marche department store. Eiffel designed and patented the lock gates used in the Panama Canal. Eiffel developed a new method of pile driving and designed a great many bridges, ports, and buildings during his long illustrious career. A.G. Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on 15 December 1832. Eiffel died at the age of 93 on 27 December 1923 at his mansion on Rue Rabelais, Paris.
Today, with common computer technology and integrated CADD systems, it is estimated that the Eiffel Tower could be designed and detailed in as little as three months with a workforce of 3 people. This design-time requirement will continue to shrink as major advances are made in the art of structural engineering and as steel detailing software development progresses. A one-third scale replica was recently completed in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel ( 1832 - 1923 )
Structural and Chemical Engineer