Built on the occasion of the Ithum tower know-how on the subject of metal structures, La Dame De Fer (the iron lady) exceeded all probabilities of her designers’ incredible success. The tower remained the tallest building in the world for nearly half a century.
During its 120 years of existence, the Eiffel Tower had been visited by more than 236 million visitors. A figure that Gustave Eiffel himself would have never challenged at the time as the number of visitors to Eiffel Tower had dropped from 1890, one year after his incredible success at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 (she had at the time recorded more than 2 million visitors). In fact, the popularity of this Paris landmark had taken off in the early of the year 1960, with the event of international tourism.
Thus, in 1963, the Eiffel Tower recorded annually over 2 million visitors, about the same number she had recorded during her inauguration. Ten years later, in 1972, the breakthrough of three million visitors was reached. A decade later in 1984, it reached the ceiling of four million, then the five million five years later (1989). Today, the average is about six million visitors each year.
The Eiffel Tower: A supremacy which is difficult to overcome in terms of highest metal structure.
Even before the initiation of the Eiffel Tower, many major projects of the construction of a large metal tower were considered. For example, as early as 1833, the British engineer Richard Trevithick had already had the idea to erect a cast iron column of 300 m in his country. In 1853, it was the turn of the architect James Bogardus, an American dreamed of erecting an observatory tower about 90 meters above the palace, a provision to host the World Expo in New York. A few years later, two other compatriots of Bogardus, Clarke and Reeves wanted to build a tower of about 300 m high at the Universal Exhibition in Philadelphia to commemorate the centenary of American independence.
But of all these projects were given up, only that of the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889. The success of the project at the time aroused sometimes appreciation, sometimes jealousy of all around. For example, to challenge the success enjoyed by the French monument in Europe at the time, Britain had also decided to undertake the construction of a tower of 360 m (60 m higher than the Eiffel Tower). Unfortunately, most of the projects presented by engineers and architects in the country were so similar to the French tower and they eventually abandoned their project for fear of being accused of piracy.
The Genesis of the Eiffel Tower
The history of the Eiffel Tower began in 1884 when three French engineers, Emile Nouguier, Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre were working on a project to study the original for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 expected to be held in Paris. After some hesitation, the three engineers opted for the construction of a huge metal tower of 300 m in height, an accomplishment never achieved before. Interested in the project, the French government in 1886 launched a competition for architects and engineers for the French project to be materialized. Finally, it was Gustave Eiffel, an engineer specializing in building steel structures who won the contest. In 1887, Eiffel signed an agreement with the state for construction and operation of the eventual monument. He would have a total of over two years and the contribution of nearly 250 workers to complete the project. Presented at the inauguration of the Universal Exhibition of 1889, the building known an exceptional success, with nearly 2 million visitors rushed in the French capital to find out. Then culminating at 300 meters high, the Eiffel Tower was for nearly 40 years the tallest monument in the world. But despite its success, the Parisian monument did not always unanimous in France and the state thought at that same time to demolish it. Fortunately, beyond its architectural interest, the building was also a valuable ally for scientists who proliferated at the time of the experiments. It was in connection to this scientific interest that the French government would waive the destruction of the tower.
The Eiffel Tower: A highly lucrative commercial product
Of all the cultural monuments, the Eiffel Tower is the only one not dependent on state subsidies. Indeed, thanks to its global popularity and its six million annual visitors, this monument is an extremely lucrative for its owners; the municipality of Paris (60%) and SETE (Society of Eiffel Tour Operations). Contrary to most cultural monuments of the country, the La Tour Eiffel is a chargeable monument.