Tuesday, May 29, 2012

That's Quite a Tower, Eiffel! - La Première Partie


I'm listening to a fascinating account of how the Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 International Exhibition of Paris.

When I started the book, I only expected to hear about the building of the tower. That was enough to get me interested. 

Under Construction, July 1888

 I have always thought of the Eiffel Tower as a magical creation. 

Eiffel Tower

 Especially when lit.

The Eiffel Tower at dusk, from across the Seine.

There was a great deal of opposition to the building of the Eiffel Tower from fellow designers, the French people and even the government. Writer Guy de Maupassant claimed to hate the tower and supposedly ate lunch in the restaurant daily because it was the one place in Paris where he could not see it.

Gustave Eiffel undertook a great deal of study to ensure the stability of his tower. One of the most difficult parts of building the Eiffel Tower was the elevators. The French government wanted to award the contract to a French company, but when none applied it went to the American firm, Otis Brothers & Company. The big problem with building the elevator from the ground floor was due to the curvature of the tower legs.

Phillip McKracke

It was interesting to hear of the interactions of all the people involved in the building of the Eiffel Tower and how their lives were affected by it. And who appeared at the Paris Exhibition. But that's a story for next time.

I don't think Giraffe #59 wants to get on that elevator.

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