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A history of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel tower sits tall and high in the Centre of Paris and was erected over one hundred and twenty years ago. It took over three hundred men to put the tower together as the spire reaches three hundred and twenty metres in to the sky. This article explains the history of the world famous landmark in a timeline format of the most significant events.


The tower is erected in the centre of Paris by over three hundred men. It took over 18,000 pieces of puddled iron to fit together and was inaugurated in March 1889 and was officially opened on the sixth of May of the same year.

September 1889

Thomas Edison famously visited the tower and signed the guestbook with a message that still exists today. The message read as follows; 'To M Eiffel, the engineer, the brave builder of so gigantic and original specimen of modern engineering from one who has the greatest respect and admiration for all engineers including the great engineer the Bon Dieu, Thomas Edison.'

4th February 1912

Austrian tailor Francz Reichelt died after jumping 60 metres from the first deck of Eiffel tower with his home-made parachute.


Illuminated signs for Citroen adorned three of the tower's four sides, making it the tallest advertising space in the world at the time.

1940- 1944. Second World War

Upon the German occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. In 1940, German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the Swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and was replaced by a smaller one.

January 1956

A fire damaged the top of the tower.


A restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; it was purchased and reconstructed on St. Charles Avenue and Josephine Street in the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana, by entrepreneurs John Onorio and Daniel Bonnot, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, later as the Red Room and now as the Cricket Club (owned by the New Orleans Culinary Institute).


The Eiffel Tower played host to Paris' Millennium Celebration. On this occasion, flashing lights and four high-power searchlights were installed on the tower, and fireworks were set off all over it. An exhibition above a cafeteria on the first floor commemorates this event. Since then, the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.

November 2002

The tower received its 200,000,000th guest.

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