Opis w bazie
The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars. It is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair. It has become a global cultural icon of France.
Initially Eiffel’s design was much criticised by the public. What is more, the engineer only had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; in 1909 it was to be dismantled. However, the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, so it was allowed to remain, and in time it became one of the most recognisable structures in the world.
The tower was designed by the renowned French structural engineer Gustave Eiffel and remains his most famous creation. Eiffel was assisted in the design by engineers Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin and architect Stephen Sauvestre, however, the tower undoubtedly bears the mark of his vision. The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddle iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The risk of an accident was great as, unlike modern skyscrapers, the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. However, only one man died, because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens.
The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May.
Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; it was to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished). However, the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, so it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. Acting upon Eiffel’s suggestion, the military installed radio equipment atop the tower and used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line and jam German communication during the First Battle of the Marne.
The tower was much criticised by the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Newspapers of the day were filled with angry letters from the arts community of Paris. Novelist Guy de Maupassant – who was one of the haters – supposedly ate lunch in the tower’s restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure.
The perception of the Eiffel Tower has come a long way since then, as today it is widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art. Not only that: the Eiffel Tower played a significant part in many a historical event. For instance, in 1910, Father Theodor Wulf measured radiant energy at the top and bottom of the tower. Discovering higher levels of the aforementioned energy at the top, he thereby detected what are today known as cosmic rays. In 1912 Austrian tailor Franz Reichelt, known as the Flying Tailor, died after jumping 60 metres from the first deck of Eiffel tower. He intended to test his home-made parachute, but it failed to open in time.
It is rumoured that upon the German occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to reach the summit. The parts necessary in order to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain in the time of war. (Mind you, the lifts in the tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris five years later.) However, when visiting Paris, Hitler chose to stay on the ground. It was later said that Hitler had conquered France, but not the Eiffel Tower. In 1940 German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and was replaced by a smaller one. A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. Some say Hitler was later persuaded to keep the tower intact so it could be used for communications.
Besides acts of obvious heroism and bravery, the tower also seems to inspire all sorts of mischief. In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig ‘sold’ the tower for scrap metal. Twice. (He later tapped the great Al Capone for 5,000 dollars.) In 1987, A.J. Hackett made one of his first bungee jumps from the top of the Eiffel Tower, using a special cord he had helped develop. He was arrested by the Paris police as soon as he reached the ground. In 1991, Thierry Devaux, along with mountain guide Hervé Calvayrac, performed a series of acrobatic bungee jumps from the second floor of the Tower. They had no permits to do so. Facing the Champ de Mars, Thierry Devaux was using an electric winch between each figure to go back up. When firemen arrived, he stopped after the sixth bungee jump. In another fit of extraordinary agility and mastery, in 1984, Robert Moriarty flew a Beechcraft Bonanza through the arches of the tower.
As far as the structure’s personal life is concerned, ‘La Dame de fer’ is married. Erika ‘Aya’ Eiffel, a former US military member, archery world champion, as well as the spokesperson and founder of OS Internationale (an organisation for those who develop significant relationships with inanimate objects), married the tower in 2007.
The Eiffel Tower stands 324 metres tall (depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by up to 18 cm, because of the thermal expansion of the metal). The pig iron structure of the tower weighs 7,300 tonnes, while the entire structure, including non-metal components, is approximately 10,000 tonnes.
The design is incredibly efficient: if the 7,300 tonnes of the metal structure were melted down, it would fill the 125-metre-square base to a depth of only 6 cm, assuming the density of the metal to be 7.8 tonnes per cubic metre. The sole non-structural elements are the four decorative grillwork arches, added in Stephen Sauvestre’s sketches, which served to reassure visitors that the structure was safe, and to frame views of other nearby architecture.
Still, at the time the tower was built many people were shocked by its daring shape. Eiffel was criticised for the design and accused of trying to create something artistic, or inartistic according to the viewer, without regard to engineering. However, careful examination of the tower shows a basically exponential shape; actually two different exponentials, with the lower section overdesigned to ensure resistance to wind forces. Several mathematical explanations have been proposed over the years for the success of the design; the most recent is described as a nonlinear integral equation based on counterbalancing the wind pressure on any point on the tower with the tension between the construction elements at that point. As a demonstration of the tower’s effectiveness in wind resistance, it sways only 6-7 cm (2-3 inches) in the wind.
Maintenance of the tower includes applying 50 to 60 tonnes of paint every seven years to protect it from rust. In order to keep a uniform appearance to an observer on the ground, three separate colours of paint are used, with the darkest on the bottom and the lightest at the top. On occasion the colour of the paint is changed; the tower is currently painted a shade of bronze. On the first floor there are interactive consoles hosting a poll for the colour to use for a future session of painting.
The tower has two restaurants: Le 58 tour Eiffel and the Le Jules Verne. Since New Year’s Eve in 1999, La Dame de fer boasts flashing lights and four high-power searchlights. Every hour on the hour 20,000 flash bulbs light up the structure. In 2004 the Eiffel Tower also began hosting an ice skating rink each winter.
The Eiffel Tower is so tall lifts are necessary. They were installed upon construction, but of course have since been updated. Each lift in normal service takes an average of 8 minutes and 50 seconds to do the round trip, spending an average of 1 minute and 15 seconds at each floor. The average journey time between floors is just 1 minute.
La dam de fer is the second tallest structure in France. In 1930, when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City, the tower lost its title of the world’s tallest structure. However, in 1957 a radio antenna was added on top, and La dam de fer is now taller than the Chrysler Building.
The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift, to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift. Climbing to such heights would be neither safe nor comfortable. And this is where the impressive set of lifts comes to play.
The original lifts to the first and second floors were provided by two companies. Both of them had to overcome many technical obstacles as neither company (or indeed any company) had experience with installing machines climbing so high with large loads. The slanting tracks with changing angles further complicated the problems. The East and West lifts were supplied by the French company Roux Combaluzier Lepape and used hydraulically powered chains and rollers. The North and South ones were provided by the American company Otis and utilized car designs similar to the original installation, but with an improved hydraulic and cable scheme. The French lifts performed very poorly and were replaced with the current installations in 1897 (West Pillar) and 1899 (East Pillar) by Fives-Lille operating on an improved hydraulic and rope scheme.
The Fives-Lille lifts from the ground level to the first and second levels are operated by cables and pulleys driven by massive water-powered pistons. The hydraulic scheme was somewhat unusual for the time because it included three large counterweights of 200 tonnes each sitting on top of hydraulic rams, which doubled up as accumulators for the water. To make the lift ascend, water was pumped by an electrically driven pump from the accumulators to the two rams. Since the counterbalance weights provided much of the required pressure, the pump had only to provide the extra effort. For the descent, the water simply had to flow back to the accumulators. The lifts were controlled by an operator perched precariously underneath the lift cars. His work place (with a dummy operator) can still be observed at the Eiffel Tower.
The Fives-Lille lifts were completely upgraded in 1986 to meet modern safety requirements and to make them easier to operate. The new system is completely automatic and controlled by a computer. One of the three counterbalances was taken out of use, and the cars were replaced with a more modern and lighter structure. Most importantly, the main driving force was removed from the original water pump such that the water hydraulic system provided only a counterbalancing function. The main driving force was transferred to a 320 kW electrically driven oil hydraulic pump, which drives a pair of hydraulic motors on the chariot itself, thus providing the motive power. The new lift cars with their carriage and a full 92-passenger load weigh 22 tonnes.
The original Otis lifts in the North and South pillars in their turn proved to be inferior to the new (back then in 1899) French ones. They were scrapped from the South pillar in 1900 and from the North pillar in 1913 after failed attempts to re-power them with an electric motor. The North and South pillars were to remain without lifts until 1965, when increasing visitor numbers persuaded the operators to install a relatively standard and modern cable hoisted system in the North pillar. This lift was upgraded in 1995 with new cars and computer controls.
The South pillar acquired a completely new, fairly standard electrically driven lift in 1983. It was meant to serve the Jules Verne restaurant and was also supplied by Otis. A further four-tonne service lift was added to the South pillar in 1989 by Otis in order to relieve the main lifts when moving relatively small loads or even just maintenance personnel.
The East and West hydraulic (water) lifts are on display and, at least in theory, are open to the public in a small museum located in base of the East and West tower, which is somewhat hidden from the public view. Because the massive mechanism requires frequent lubrication and attention, public access is often restricted. However, when open, the wait times are much less than with other, more popular attractions. The rope mechanism of the North tower is visible to visitors as they exit from the lift.
The original lifts from the second to the third floor were also of a water-powered hydraulic design supplied by Léon Edoux. Instead of using a separate counterbalance, the two cars counterbalanced each other. A pair of 81-metre long hydraulic rams was mounted on the second level reaching nearly half way up to the third level. An elevator car was mounted on top of the rams. Ropes ran from the top of this car up to a sheave on the third level and back down to a second car. The result of this arrangement was that each car only travelled half the distance between the second and third levels and passengers were required to change lifts halfway, walking between the cars along a narrow gangway with a very impressive and relatively unobstructed downward view. The ten-tonne cars held 65 passengers each or up to four tonnes.
One interesting feature of the original installation was that the hoisting rope ran through guides to retain it on windy days to prevent it flapping and becoming damaged. The guides were mechanically moved out of the way of the ascending car by the movement of the car itself. In spite of some antifreeze being added to the water that operated this system, it nevertheless had to close to the public from November to March each year.
The original lifts with their hydraulic mechanism were completely scrapped in 1982 after 97 years of service. They were replaced with two pairs of relatively standard rope hoisted cars which were able to operate all the year round. The cars operate in pairs with one providing the counterbalance for the other. Neither car can move unless both sets of doors are closed and both operators have given a start command. The commands from the cars reach the hoisting mechanism by radio, obviating the necessity of a control cable. The replacement installation has the added advantage that the ascent can be made without changing cars. Besides, it has reduced the ascent time from 8 minutes (including changing cars) to 1 minute and 40 seconds. This installation has guides for the hoisting ropes, too, but they are electrically operated. Once it has moved out of the way as the car ascends, the guide automatically reverses when the car has passed to prevent the mechanism becoming snagged on the car on the downward. Sadly, these lifts do not have the capacity to move as many people as the three public ones situated on the lower level, which results in long queues of those who want to ascend to the third level. Most of the intermediate level structure present on the tower today was installed when the lifts were replaced.
The replacement of these lifts made it possible to restructure the criss-cross beams in upper part of the tower. It also allowed the installation of two emergency staircases. These replaced the dangerous winding stairs that were installed when the tower was constructed.
Although the Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly an icon of Paris, it can be found all over the world in over 30 various renditions. The first of them is the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, England, built by the town’s mayor John Bickerstaffe in 1894, after he saw the original in Paris. The tallest replica is the Tokyo Tower in Minato Tokyo, Japan.
Despite the initial controversy surrounding the loveliness (or lack thereof) of La Dame de fer, by now the tower has become as undeniable an aspect of Paris as little bistros and cafes are to the Latin Quarter. Even more so, because the Eiffel Tower truly is the iconic image of Paris. And yet, rumour has it that Paris came quite close to losing the tower’s imposing silhouette. According to interviews given in the early 1980s, Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau negotiated a secret agreement with French President Charles de Gaulle for the tower to be dismantled and temporarily relocated to Montreal. It was to serve as a landmark and tourist attraction during Expo 67. The plan was allegedly vetoed by the company which operated the tower out of fear that the French government could refuse permission for the tower to be restored to its original location.
The alleged plot to relocate the structure notwithstanding, the Eiffel Tower has been the inspiration for the creation of over 30 duplicates and similar towers around the world. There are a couple of replicas in the USA, for instance in Las Vegas in front of a casino and in Mason, Ohio, as well as Doswell, Virginia, where the towers are parts of dedicated amusement parks. China has a few replicas, too, for instance the Eiffel Tower of Window of the World in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and the Eiffel Tower of Tiandu City Community in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.
Of course, there are also replicas of various sizes in Paris, Texas, USA; Paris, Tennessee, USA; and Paris, Michigan, USA. You cannot have a Paris without the Eiffel Tower, now, can you?
The tower and its representations have long been in the public domain. However, a French court ruled, in June 1990, that a special lighting display on the tower in 1989, for the tower’s 100th anniversary, was an ‘original visual creation’ protected by copyright. The Société d’exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE) now considers any illumination of the tower to be under copyright.
Fortunately, French law allow pictures incorporating a copyrighted work as long as their presence is incidental or accessory to the main represented subject. It means SETE could not claim copyright on photographs or panoramas of Paris incorporating the lit tower.
…I arrive at the Eiffel Tower. Pick-pockets and queuing cannot stop me from climbing. From the top, Paris is bright and lovely. If its name comes from Paris, one of the most handsome mortals, then it definitely fits and gives the young Trojan the right to eternity. The Tower lights up in the cheering of the curious crowd and shines like a torch. It is the Tower of Babel, reaching the sky and all languages on earth meet here. Man has reached heavens but not God…