Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is so much larger in person-it's huge! And beautiful surrounded by Fall trees. This is looking out our window.

The Eiffel Tower was built for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889 commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of England, opened the tower. Of the 700 proposals submitted in a design competition, Gustave Eiffel's was unanimously chosen. However it was not accepted by all at first, and a petition of 300 names - including those of Maupassant, Emile Zola, Charles Garnier (architect of the Opéra Garnier), and Dumas the Younger - protested its construction.

Of the 7.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity used annually, 580 thousand are used exclusively to illuminate the tower. The tower's annual operation also requires the use of 2 tons of paper for tickets, 4 tons of rag or paper wipes, 10,000 applications of detergents, 400 liters of metal cleansers and 25,000 garbage bags.

The tower was almost torn down in 1909, but was saved because of its antenna used both for military and other purposes, and the city let it stand after the permit expired. When the tower played an important role in capturing the infamous spy Mata Hari during World War I, it gained such importance to the French people that there was no more thought of demolishing it.- used for telegraphy at that time.

From 1910 and on the Eiffel Tower became part of the International Time Service. French radio (since 1918), and French television (since 1957) have also made use of its stature.

During its lifetime, the Eiffel Tower has also witnessed a few strange scenes, including being scaled by a mountaineer in 1954, and parachuted off of in 1984 by two Englishmen. In 1923 a journalist rode a bicycle down from the first level. Some accounts say he rode down the stairs, other accounts suggest the exterior of one of the tower's four legs which slope outward.