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The birth of the Eiffel Tower (pictures)

Joint project of the Google Cultural Institute and the Eiffel Tower Operating Company digs into the archives to chronicle the story of this amazing monument's development.

Charles_Cooper.jpg
Charles_Cooper.jpg

Charles Cooper

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1 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

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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2 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

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

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3 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

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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4 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

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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5 of 19 Google/Parisienne de photographie - Jacques Boyer / Roger-Viollet

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

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6 of 19 Google/Collection Tour Eiffel

Elevator system brings visitors to the second floor

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7 of 19 Google

Tower foundations

Work on the tower foundations began on January 26, 1887. That work finished up four months later.
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8 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

Excavating foundation

Drawing of workman excavating the foundation of the tower.
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9 of 19 Google

Breaking ground

Construction started on July 1, 1887. Workers completed the tower 21 months later.
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10 of 19 Googe

Scaffolding

Temporary wooden scaffolds were used to assemble the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.
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11 of 19 Google

Getting there

Piece by piece, the tower takes shape.
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12 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

First stage of the tower completed

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13 of 19 Google/Parisienne de photographie - Neurdein / Roger-Violle

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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14 of 19 Google/Collection tour Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel

Portrait of Portrait de Gustave Eiffel.
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15 of 19 Google

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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16 of 19 Google

Open to visitors

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17 of 19 Google

Souvenirs

High above the city, commerce -- in the form of tchotchkes -- awaits. Even back then.
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18 of 19 Google

Lift off

Two of the original lifts are still in service on the Eiffel Tower today.
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19 of 19 Collection tour Eiffel

Billet

A hot ticket at the time. Even hotter today.

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