One of the most photographed — and copied — landmarks on the planet, the Eiffel Tower is more than just an emblem of Paris. It is a place full of mysteries and surprises. She may be old but the Iron Lady still has her secrets! Read on to find out a few cool facts about the Eiffel Tower.
Science Saves The Day
The Eiffel Tower was built as a temporary installation for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was ultimately never taken down because an antenna was built at the top of the tower to conduct wireless signals. Those signals would come in handy later during World War 1.
It was the scientific and technological attributes that made authorities decide to keep the tower standing. Today, we couldn’t imagine Paris without it.
Speaking of Scientists …
Did you know that the names of 72 French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are engraved on the Eiffel Tower in recognition of their contributions?
Architect Gustave Eiffel listed the names. They were covered over with paint at the beginning of the 20th century, but were restored in 1986 and 1987.
The Nouguier & Koechlin Tower?
The Eiffel Tower wasn’t designed by Gustave Eiffel but by senior engineers working for Eiffel’s company, namely Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin. The tower bears Eiffel’s name but the concept and design of the landmark were conceived in the minds of his brilliant engineers.
The Eiffel Tower has an apartment where Gustave Eiffel would host famous guests like Thomas Edison. Today, the apartment is available for people to see on public tours. The space looks very close to the way it did back in the late 19th century, with many of the original furnishings still present. The apartment may be accessible today but it certainly wasn’t during Eiffel’s life. Rumor was he created the apartment just to make the people of Paris jealous.
A Tower Full of Tall Tales
The not-so-secret secret is there is a military bunker close to the south pillar of the tower. The bunker is home of a small museum that is open to visitors. Apparently, the bunker is linked with a French military school through a secret tunnel.
The bunker has been credited with military victories. In 1914, according to toureiffel.paris: “During the Battle of the Marne, the Tower’s radiotelegraphic station learnt that General Von Marwitz, Commander of the right wing of the German Army, was having administrative problems and as a result was halting his advance. This crucial information enabled the French command to organise a victorious counter-attack (the Taxis de la Marne).”
The Eiffel Tower also played a role in exposing espionage. Thanks to the Eiffel Tower’s station, enemy radio telegrams were deciphered and spies were exposed, among them exotic dancer Mata Hari.
It’s in the Mail!
How lovely would it be to recieve a letter from the Eiffel Tower? For a time, there was a post office located on the 1st floor of the attraction, at an altitude of 57 meters (187 feet). It operated just like a regular post office and it was highly prized by stamp collectors because mail could be posted from there with collector’s stamps and the illustrated Eiffel Tower postmark would adorn the correspondence.
Get Your Own Tower!
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most copied towers in the world. The United States owns several copies of the Eiffel Tower, including: Fayetteville (North Carolina), Northern California, Las Vegas (Nevada) at Casino Paris, Kings Island (Oklahoma), and Tennessee’s town of Paris.
You can also find replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Tokyo, Shenzhen (China), and Kota (India).
The Iron Lady Needs Makeup
In 1900, Gustave Eiffel wrote in his book, “The 300-Meter Tower”: “We will most likely never realize the full importance of painting the Tower, that it is the essential element in the conservation of metal works and the more meticulous the paint job, the longer the Tower shall endure.”
Every seven years, around 60 tons of paint are applied to the tower. It not only keeps the Iron Lady looking new but also protects the iron from rusting. Since its construction, the Eiffel Tower has been repainted 18 times and gone from red-brown to yellow to today’s bronze. Traditional painting methods are followed, which means everything is done old school by hand — paintbrush and bucket.