History of the Eiffel Tower

By Om Kumar

The Eiffel Tower, a prime global attraction, attracts millions with its breathtaking beauty. 

Standing tall for over 127 years, it proudly represents Paris, the City of Lights. 

A trip to Paris is complete with experiencing this iconic landmark. 

Constructed from 1887 to 1889 for the World Fair, it fascinates visitors with its unique style. 

From its design selection to incredible renovations, the rich history of the Eiffel Tower makes it a treasure mine of stories.

Brief History of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, has become a famous icon of Paris. 

It was initially created for the 1889 World’s Fair, celebrating the French Revolution’s 100th anniversary.

More than 107 designs were proposed to build a structure representing France’s power and industrial abilities, from which Gustave Eiffel’s idea was selected. 

He and engineer Maurice Koechlin, Emile Nouguier, and architect Stephen Sauvestre designed this unique iron structure. 

The skyscraper’s construction raised specific concerns because it was unusual from other buildings at the time. 

It was only supposed to last 20 years, but its unusual design changed its fate. 

Today, around 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower annually because of its enduring charm.

Now, let’s look at when and why the Eiffel Tower was created, how long it took, and whether people appreciated it as much back then as they do now.

Construction Schedule

To understand the Eiffel Tower’s origin, understanding all those involved in the building of the Eiffel Tower and the time frame during its construction is essential.

Here is information showing the Eiffel Tower’s construction development background.

  • June 1884: The idea to build an iron tower standing 300 meters was planned. 
  • 28 January 1887: The Construction of the Eiffel Tower begins. 
  • 1 April 1888: The first floor finished. 
  • 14 August 1888: The second floor was completed. 
  • 31 March 1889: The third and last stage when the construction was completed.

On 31st March 1889, the Eiffel Tower officially opened. 

Gustave Eiffel climbed its 1,710 stairs and stood at the top, proudly waving the French tricolor flag. 

Key Figures:


  • 18,038 Metallic Parts
  • 5,300 Workshop Designs
  • 50 Engineers and Designers


  • 150 workers in the Levallois-Perret factory
  • 150 to 300 workers on the construction site
  • 2,500,000 rivets
  • 7,300 tonnes of iron
  • 60 tonnes of paint
  • 5 lifts


  • 2 years, 2 months and 5 days of construction

Timeline of Eiffel Tower

1884: The concept of a metal pylon tower with a square base was developed.

1885: Gustav Eiffel submitted it to the Société des Ingénieurs Civils for approval.

1886: The committee for the Exposition Universelle, which was to be held in 1889 to honor the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, approved the design.

1886: Artists argue that a metallic tower will be an unattractive metallic monument that will detract from Paris’ appeal. However, they lacked motivation for their protest.

1887: The building process began in late January.

1888: First level completed

1889: The construction was completed on 15 March. 

History of Eiffel Tower in Detail

The Design of the Eiffel Tower (1884)

The original design of the Eiffel Tower was developed by engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who worked at Gustave Eiffel’s engineering firm. 

Eiffel initially needed to be addressed. But when the chief architect, Stephen Sauvestre, added fancy ornaments to the design, Eiffel finally liked it and approved it. 

The goal was to construct a 300-meter-high skyscraper. 

It would be composed of an iron lattice and stand on a square base. 

It was a massive and ambitious project because nothing that tall had ever been built.

Submission of a Proposal (1886)

The design of the Eiffel Tower was chosen from among 100 others by a committee organizing the Exposition Universelle. 

They intended to build a magnificent architectural masterpiece to mark the French Revolution’s 100th anniversary.

The design for the skyscraper was chosen unanimously by the committee. 

However, only some were sure that a metal tower, among other magnificent structures, would look nice or be stable. 

The concept of a 300-meter tower was wholly new and unheard of. 

Some individuals objected to the plan, but it did not prevent the tower from being built.

The Tower’s Construction (1887)

The Eiffel Tower’s construction started on 28 January. 

A solid concrete base was first constructed. 

Engineers carefully created and joined together the intricate metal lattice structure using rivets.

Each component was handcrafted with great care and precision. 

Once constructed, the parts were carried to the building site and assembled there. 

On concrete slabs, the four supporting structures were built. 

Over the next few months, the construction team laid the foundation and made regular progress.

The construction team completed the first level of the Eiffel Tower in approximately a year.

The tower’s beautiful arches and pinnacle were completed by early 1889, just in time for its grand inauguration.

Completion of Tower (1889)

By March 1889, the construction of the Tower was finished. 

With a height of 300 meters, it became the highest structure in the modern world. 

It was not only solid and well-made, but it was also visually appealing. 

It impressed those who opposed it, and some became avid supporters of the Tower! 

Visitors could climb to the top of the Tower using stairs. 

Approximately 30,000 individuals visited the Tower in the first few months after its completion. 

It rapidly became a hit and a huge attraction. 

During the 1889 Exposition Universelle, it seized the show and stunned notable individuals and leaders worldwide.

Tower Gains New Functions (1909)

Tower Gains New Functions
Image: Forbes.com

The Tower’s license expanded since it became a significant location for scientific research. 

Gustave Eiffel understood that it had to be more than just aesthetically pleasing. 

He encouraged scientists to use it for weather, flight, and other tests. 

The tower also played a part in wireless telegraphy, receiving critical signals that influenced the outcome of wars. 

It became a well-known landmark in the Parisian landscape. 

Even now, it is utilized for satellite dishes and TV antennas to keep up with technology.

Eiffel Tower Lights History

Before Electricity: 

Ten thousand gaslights were installed in the Tower to provide ground illumination when it officially opened in 1889. 

A beacon was constructed on the Summit.

After Electricity:

During the 1937 World’s Fair, the Tower’s structure was lit below the first floor and between the four pillars. 

30 lamps were placed in the Tower to illuminate it from the outside. 

In 1958, 1,290 small lights were put around the Tower to replace them.


In 1985, the Eiffel Tower underwent improvements to its lighting system, which involved the installation of 336 sodium-vapor lights in the structure.

On January 1st, 2000, 20,000 shimmering lights were attached to the Tower’s framework. 

The Summit beacon got replaced with four bulbs.

Eiffel Tower Restaurants History

Besides its stunning architecture, the Eiffel Tower history also includes its restaurants, which have been an integral part of the iconic structure’s legacy.

  • 1889: The first floor of the Eiffel Tower had four magnificent wooden pavilions at the time of its construction. 

There were 500 seats available in each of these restaurants, Flamad, Russian Restaurant, and Brébant.

  • 1937:It was torn down in preparation for the 1937 International Exhibition. 

Two new eateries were added to the newly modified first floor.

  • In the 1980s, La Belle France and Le Parisien took over the restaurants again.
  • 1993: The Jules Verne restaurant became a part of the Eiffel Tower.
  • 1996: Altitude 95, 95 meters above sea level, was the tower’s newest attraction.
  • The 2000s: The first-floor restaurant was named 58 Tour Eiffel.
  • 2022: 58 Tour Eiffel was replaced by Madame Brasserie.

Eiffel Tower Today

Today, the Eiffel Tower is the most famous and prideful place to visit in Paris. 

It symbolizes France’s outstanding skills in industry and architecture to the rest of the world. 

More than 7 million people visit annually, making it the most popular paid tourist attraction. 

However, even after 130 years, it still stands tall and has become a symbol of France. 

It was a difficult task with numerous obstacles to overcome. 

Yet, the Eiffel Tower’s history is a proud story for Paris and its people.


What is the story behind the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower was built as an homage to the anniversary of the French Revolution at the Exposition Universelle.

It was intended to be a temporary structure when the Eiffel Tower finished in 1889, but it has become an everlasting icon of France’s cultural legacy.

Today, it stands as a beloved tourist attraction in Paris.

What are 5 facts about the Eiffel Tower?

Here are 5 Eiffel Tower facts:

Iconic Structure: The Eiffel Tower held the title of the world’s tallest structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.

Iron Framework: Over 2.5 million rivets were used to link over 18,000 unique iron pieces during construction.

Symbolic Lighting: The Eiffel Tower is decorated with special lighting, and its color schemes change regularly. 

It glows with hundreds of dazzling lights for a few minutes every hour after sunset.

Wind-Resistant Design: The Eiffel Tower can move slightly in the wind due to its open lattice structure. 

The tower is built to resist powerful gusts and can move up to 9 cm (3.5 inches) in extreme winds.

Historical Significance: The Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy messages during World War I. 

It also functioned as a strategic observation station and helped transmit wireless signals.

Who built the Eiffel Tower and why?

The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel and his team of engineers.

It was built to display France’s superior architecture and engineering skills at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

Who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

Gustave Eiffel and his engineers designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

 When did they start building the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower Construction began in 1887.

What year was the Eiffel Tower built in Paris?

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889.

What was the purpose of Eiffel Tower?

The purpose of the Eiffel Tower was to showcase France’s industrial and engineering skills during the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

How tall is the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower height is approximately 330 meters (1,083 feet).

What is the historical significance of the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower historical significance is that it is a symbol of France’s industrial and artistic achievements, representing national pride and cultural heritage.

What is the architectural history of the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower’s architectural history is defined by its innovative iron lattice structure, designed by Gustave Eiffel.

It is a symbol of architectural excellence that demonstrates the creativity of its designers.

Featured Image: Lenorlux from Getty Images (Canva)

About the author

Om is a passionate wordsmith fueled by an insatiable thirst for adventure and exploration. He strives to immortalize wonders via his writing.