How Long Did It Take to Build the Eiffel Tower

Building the Eiffel Tower

Are you wondering, "How long did it take to build the Eiffel Tower?" While the original tower was started in 1887 and was finished in 1889, one might say that the tower is a work in progress. There have been several additions to the tower over the years, including a radio antenna, newspaper headquarters, and a café.

Starting the Foundation

It was January 26, 1887 and ground had just been broken for the construction of a tower for the World's Fair in 1889. The tower was to be an archway entrance to the fair, a celebration of French engineering, and a "flaw" in the French landscape for only 20 years.

Top of Eiffel Tower

The challenge in building the floors of the Eiffel Tower were numerous. The engineers had to build a scaffolding system and tilt the truss frames using hydraulic jacks so that the base would lie horizontal. It is hard to believe that with the limited equipment and technology that they had at the time, the Eiffel Tower only took about two years to build!

Transporting Pieces

All the parts to the Eiffel Tower (some 15,000 of them) were built in Eiffel's workshops off-site and then transported to the site. The beams were hoisted using cranes. The precision with which everything was put together was a major innovation at the time, and highlighted Eiffel's genius as an engineer.

The Elevators

The elevators of the Eiffel Tower were another major engineering feat. The challenge of both the height of the tower and the elevator load was new for the time. Many people do not realize that elevator lifts have been part of the Eiffel Tower's structure from the very beginning.

Continuing Construction

The Eiffel Tower continues to receive updates from time to time. It currently houses several restaurants and has been home to military headquarters for telecommunications, a host of scientific laboratories, and the printing office for the newspaper, Le Figaro.

The Ever-Changing Eiffel Tower

If Gustav Eiffel were alive today to see all that his beloved tower has become, he surely would be pleased. Not only has it become an iconic presence in Paris, but also it has earned its keep in usefulness.

The answer to your question how long did it take to build the Eiffel Tower? is a more complicated one than you might expect. While construction for the tower technically took two years, the tower will continue to update and improve as long as she stands.

Learn more about other Famous French Monuments.

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