On this day March 31, 1889

The Eiffel Tower is inaugurated. The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution.

Eiffel Tower under construction

Eiffel Tower under construction

Eiffel originally planned to build the tower in Barcelona, for the Universal Exposition of 1888, but those responsible at the Barcelona city hall thought it was a strange and expensive construction, which did not fit into the design of the city.

After the refusal of the Consistory of Barcelona, Eiffel submitted his draft to those responsible for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where he would build his tower a year later, in 1889.

The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin.

The risk of accident was great, for unlike modern skyscrapers the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. However, because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died.

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