The construction of the Eiffel Tower

The construction of the Eiffel Tower

  • The construction of the Eiffel Tower (October 8, 1887 - November 10, 1887).

    FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

  • The construction of the Eiffel Tower (April 10, 1888 - May 10, 1888).

    FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

  • The construction of the Eiffel Tower (October 14, 1888 - November 14, 1888).

    FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

  • The construction of the Eiffel Tower (April 2, 1889).

    FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

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Title: The construction of the Eiffel Tower (October 8, 1887 - November 10, 1887).

Author : FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

Creation date : 1887

Date shown: 08 October 1887

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. G. Ojeda

Picture reference: 96-000174 / Pho 1981-126-2

The construction of the Eiffel Tower (October 8, 1887 - November 10, 1887).

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

To close

Title: The construction of the Eiffel Tower (April 10, 1888 - May 10, 1888).

Author : FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

Creation date : 1888

Date shown: April 10, 1888

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

Picture reference: 96-000178 / Pho 1981-126-4

The construction of the Eiffel Tower (April 10, 1888 - May 10, 1888).

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

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Title: The construction of the Eiffel Tower (October 14, 1888 - November 14, 1888).

Author : FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

Creation date : 1888

Date shown: October 14, 1888

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

Picture reference: 96-000183 / Pho 1981-126-7

The construction of the Eiffel Tower (October 14, 1888 - November 14, 1888).

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

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Title: The construction of the Eiffel Tower (April 2, 1889).

Author : FEAU Théophile (1839 - 1892)

Creation date : 1889

Date shown: April 2, 1889

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

Picture reference: 96-000186 / PHO1981-126-10

The construction of the Eiffel Tower (April 2, 1889).

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

Publication date: February 2006

Historical context

In a France grappling with political and economic difficulties, and still marked by the memory of its defeat to Germany in 1870, imposed the idea of ​​a Universal Exhibition capable of turning the country around and restoring its prestige in the eyes of the whole world. Planned for Paris in 1889, the centenary of the French Revolution, the Exhibition is entirely devoted to iron, and its "highlight" is the three hundred meter high tower designed by Maurice Koechlin and built by Gustave Eiffel.

Image Analysis

In the Champ-de-Mars district, which was undergoing major changes at the end of the 1880s, the

Eiffel Tower

, which begins in January 1887, is a new and surprising spectacle, regularly attended by crowds of onlookers and performers. Among them, a photographer who has remained anonymous works every month to fix with his camera the progression of the iron pylon in the Parisian sky from one of the towers of the

Trocadero Palace

.

The photographs taken on October 8 and November 10, 1887 reveal the start of the simultaneous erection of the four pillars, undertaken in July 1887 after five months of foundation work. Already appear the trellis system (intersection of metal beams) and the bracing devices (oblique assembly) that characterize its slender and original silhouette.

After ten months of work, the most perilous stage in the construction of the Tower has been taken, as shown by the photograph of April 10, 1888: the junction of the first floor of the inclined pillars was carried out ten days earlier by a horizontal beam , known as the “belt beam”, adjusted to the nearest millimeter thanks to a system of hydraulic cylinders and presses. This first platform now serving as a point of support for the upper parts, the photograph of May 10, 1888 shows that the wooden scaffolding that had been used until then to hoist the various elements are gradually disappearing.

The elevation of the Tower thus continuing according to this technique of assembly made entirely in cantilever, the second floor is reached six months later, as indicated by the photograph of October 14, 1888. In this inevitable meeting of the pillars , the photograph taken on November 14, 1888 captures the point of the building where the four crossbowmen meet to form a single trunk which tapers to the top, passing through the third floor, as shown in the photograph taken April 2, 1889, two days after the inauguration.

Interpretation

The photography, which lends itself particularly well to this kind of reportage, perfectly reflects the precise and rapid assembly of the Eiffel Tower, as it was planned by Gustave Eiffel in his workshops in Levallois-Perret and as it was. perceived by all observers, namely as an immense game of Meccano where human intervention seems non-existent.

After having aroused fears and scandals [1] throughout its construction, the "iron lady", a veritable triumph of the vitality and inventiveness of French architecture, is the greatest success of the

Universal Exhibition of 1889

and thus gives back to France its place in the concert of the great nations. Built for only twenty years but saved by its scientific role, the Eiffel Tower has become the very symbol of Paris.

  • architecture
  • Universal exhibitions
  • modernism
  • monuments
  • Paris
  • industrial Revolution
  • steel industry
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Third Republic
  • city
  • photography
  • reportage
  • engineer

Bibliography

Roland Barthes, Eiffel Tower, Delphire, 1964.

Charles BRAIBANT, History of the Eiffel Tower, Plon, Paris, 1964.

Jean des CARS and Jean-Paul CARACALLA, Eiffel Tower, Denoël, Paris, 1989.

Armand LANOUX, Eiffel Tower, Ramsay, Paris, 1991.

Bertrand LEMOINE, The Eiffel Tower, Gallimard, Paris, 1989.

Henri LOYRETT, E "The Eiffel Tower", in Pierre NORA (dir.), Memorial place, tome II, Gallimard, Paris, 1986, reed. coll. “Quarto”, Paris, 1996.

1889. The Eiffel Tower and the Universal Exhibition, catalog of the Orsay museum exhibition, RMN, Paris, 1989.

Notes

1. In February 1887, a group of artists including Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas fils, Leconte de Lisle, Charles Gounod sent a very hostile petition to Mr. Alphand, director of works and of the Universal Exhibition, published in the newspaper Time.

To cite this article

Fleur SIOUFFI, "The construction of the Eiffel Tower"

Connections


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