Construction of the Eiffel Tower
July 04, 2012
Work on the foundations started in January 1887. The tower is comprised of 18, 038 pieces of wrought iron and 2 and half million rivets. No drilling or shaping was done on site. If any part did not fit it was sent back to the factory for alteration.
The critical stage of joining the four legs at the first level was complete by March 1888. Although the metalwork had been prepared with the utmost precision, provision had been made to carry out small adjustments in order to precisely align the legs: hydraulic jacks were fitted to the shoes at the base of each leg, each capable of exerting a force of 800 tonnes, and in addition the legs had been intentionally constructed at a slightly steeper angle than necessary, being supported by sandboxes on the scaffold.
No more than three hundred workers were employed on site, and because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died during construction.
The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889.
Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years. It was to be dismantled in 1909. 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) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit.
In the opening weeks of the First World War the powerful radio transmitters using the tower were used to jam German communications, seriously hindering their advance on Paris and contributing to the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne.