Reproductions of original drawings by Gustave Eiffel (first floor)

It opened up to visitors in 1889 and was the world's tallest monument for four decades. Since then, more than 250 million people have visited.

Here's one of the founding documents for the tower, thanks to a joint project of the Google Cultural Institute and the Eiffel Tower Operating Company. The organizations dug through archives to chronicle the story of this amazing monument's development.

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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

Copy of Gustave Eiffel's original plates (2nd floor)

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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

Preliminary sketch of tower

Gustave Eiffel registered a patent "for a new configuration allowing the construction of metal supports and pylons capable of exceeding a height of 300 metres."
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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

Champ de Mars and Ecole Militaire

The Champ de Mars and Ecole Militaire from the heights of the Trocadero before the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

Construction: Tangle wire mesh near the first platform - January 1888

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Photo by: Google/Parisienne de photographie - Jacques Boyer / Roger-Viollet / Caption by:

Elevator system brings visitors to the second floor

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Photo by: Google/Collection Tour Eiffel / Caption by:

Tower foundations

Work on the tower foundations began on January 26, 1887. That work finished up four months later.
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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

Excavating foundation

Drawing of workman excavating the foundation of the tower.
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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

Breaking ground

Construction started on July 1, 1887. Workers completed the tower 21 months later.
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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

Scaffolding

Temporary wooden scaffolds were used to assemble the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.
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Photo by: Googe / Caption by:

Getting there

Piece by piece, the tower takes shape.
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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

First stage of the tower completed

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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

The finished product: Eiffel Tower: 1889 Exposition Universelle

The finished product was made with help from 18,038 metal parts, 5,300 workshop drawings, 50 engineers and draughtsmen, 150 workers employed at the Levallois-Perret factory, between 150 and 300 workers on the construction site, 2,500,000 rivets, 7,300 tons of iron and 60 tons of paint.
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Photo by: Google/Parisienne de photographie - Neurdein / Roger-Violle / Caption by:

Gustave Eiffel

Portrait of Portrait de Gustave Eiffel.
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Photo by: Google/Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:

The official opening: May 15, 1889

The Eiffel Tower remained the world's highest construction until the Chrysler Building was erected in New York in 1930.
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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

Open to visitors

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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

Souvenirs

High above the city, commerce -- in the form of tchotchkes -- awaits. Even back then.
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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

Lift off

Two of the original lifts are still in service on the Eiffel Tower today.
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Photo by: Google / Caption by:

Billet

A hot ticket at the time. Even hotter today.
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Photo by: Collection tour Eiffel / Caption by:
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