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S256
Gustav Eiffel and the 300-Meter Tower

Jeffrey Syken

In the year 1889, France celebrated the 100th anniversary (centenary) of the French Revolution (of 1789). To mark the occasion, the capital city of Paris would host an International Exposition (Exposition Universalle) that would highlight the many achievements of the past hundred years made in French art, culture, architecture and, especially, science and technology. For such a proud event, why not make the centerpiece of the exposition itself a marvel of French know-how by constructing a tower three-hundred meters tall!

To find a suitable design, a competition was held, but with the combination of an attractive design for a wrought-iron latticed tower and the fact that Franceís Magicien du Fer (Magician of Iron) - Monsieur Gustav Eiffel, was the applicant, the outcome was never in doubt. At first Eiffel dismissed the competition, but by his subordinates insistence (and design work), the Eiffel tower would make Gustav Eiffel both rich and famous.

The completed tower was a wonder of simplicity, technology and pre-fabricated design. Though the cultural elitists cried foul, the Parisians and exposition visitors fell instantly in love with La Tour de 300-Meters. It was not meant to be a permanent fixture in Paris, but with the towerís usefulness for scientific experimentation, communications and national defense, it became a necessity. At the same time, it became a symbol of Paris and the French nation itself. Perhaps that is its greatest legacy.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials.


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