Eiffel Tower - The Original Idea and Sketch

The Eiffel Tower draws about 7 million visitors annually, but most people may not realize it was originally slated for a very short lifespan.  A single vote, in favor of retaining the wonder of Paris, kept the tower from being disassembled twenty years after it was erected.

Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 - celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution - the Eiffel Tower was one idea, among many others, submitted in a competition to:

Study the possibility of erecting an iron tower on the Champs-de-Mars [a large public "green space" in Paris].  The tower would have a square base, 125 meters on each side and 300 meters high.  (From the French government's Journal Officiel, launching the competition on May 2, 1886, quoted in The Tallest Tower, by Joseph Harriss, at page 7.)

At the time, Gustave Eiffel had a firm which was famous for building bridges, viaducts and other structures made of metal.  Specializing in creating parts which were pre-fabricated in his shop, then assembled on site, Eiffel had a team of fifty engineers, architects and draftsmen working with him at Gustave Eiffel Entreprise. 

In 1884, one of those engineers - Maurice Koechlin, on whom Eiffel heavily relied - had already thought about an iron tower for the French capital. On the 18th of September, that year, Eiffel registered a patent "for a new configuration allowing the construction of metal supports and pylons capable of exceeding a height of 300 metres."

When the government launched the competition, two years later, the Eiffel firm submitted their concept of a structure which would ultimately change the face of Paris.  (This is Koechlin's first drawing, from 1884.)

See, also:

Eiffel Tower - Video - Plans and Initial Construction

Eiffel Tower - Video - Opposition and Working Conditions

Eiffel Tower - Video - Riveters Work in Snow and Wind

Eiffel Tower - Video - Danger Bonuses and Unofficial Opening

Eiffel Tower - Video - Original Life Span of 20 Years

Eiffel Tower - Video - Telegraphy and Meteorology Experiments

Eiffel Tower - Video - Saved by the Battle of the Marne

Media Credits

Clip from True Legend of the Eiffel Tower

Simon Brook

Simon Brook and Pascal Lainé

Key Cast Members:
Jacques Frantz - Gustave Eiffel

Annelise Hesme - Claire Eiffel

Nicolas Vaude - Edouard Barbier

Jean-Pierre Becker - Jean Compagnon

Marc Samuel - Minister Lockroy

Laurent Petitgirard 

Vincent Jeannot

Co-production and copyrights - France-Switzerland-Belgium; Canal+ / Le Musée d'Orsay / RTL-TVi / Télévision Suisse-Romande (TSR) / VAB - all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the production.

Dubbed in English (from French)

Release Date:  2005


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Eiffel Tower - The Original Idea and Sketch" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 10, 2019.
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