Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Eiffel Tower

BFTF happened to be in Paris recently and had the opportunity to, very briefly, visit the Eiffel Tower.

Paris, or Blackpool? Difficult to tell at this distance.

Aside from the fact that it-is-very-big, a striking feature of the structure is its rather stylish brown paint job.

The Eiffel Tower

The detail and complexity of the structure really is very impressive.

Close up of the first level, showing the groovy detail in the ironwork

One interesting feature of the first level of the tower is that the names of 72 French scientists, engineers and other notable people. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that French Women were not given the vote until 1944, there are no women named in the engravings. Which is a shame, as there were certainly women who deserved a place, such as Emilie du Chatelet (mathematician, physicist, and author) or Marie-Sophie Germain (mathematician, physicist, and philosopher).

Very close picture, showing engraved names

Standing underneath the tower gives an interesting view. . .

Looking up from the centre of the tower

Detail of pillar, viewed from centre of Tower

One surprising feature is that the supports are embedded in large concrete blocks. . .

One of the towers four legs

One of the towers four legs, up close and personal

Detail of pillar element embedded in conctrete

The text in the last picture says "forges et usines de pompey. FOULD-DUPONT Fournisseur. Des Fers De La Tour" and refers to the fact that the wrought iron steel that the tower is made of was prodcued at the Fould-Dupoont steelworks in Pompey, eastern France.

The founders of the steelworks at Pompey (Auguste Dupont, Mayer Dupont and Adolphe Dreyfus) had originally founded an iron works at nearby Ars-sur-Moselle but had moved their operation south to Pompey when Germany annexed the Moselle in 1871 (following the Franco-Prussian War)(1)

In 1982, Pompey faced job losses of some 2,300 out of 3,500 steelworkers. Protests included locking the president of Sacilor in his office, meeting in Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and, incredibly, making the Tour de France go through the Pompey factory.(2)

Further cuts and job losses followed, resulting in the complete closure of the steelworks in 1986 - mirroring closures seen in the steel industries of other countries.

(1) :The Emergence of Modern Business Enterprise in France 1800-2930, Michale Stephen Smith
(2) : The Politics of Steel : Western Europe and the Steel Industry in the Crisis years (1974-1984) Yves Many, Vincent Wright: ISBN : 978-3110105179

Image Sources
All images BFTF's own


  1. A different view on the Eiffel Tower story. Nice post. I just could not figure it out, is the first picture actually featuring the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the one in Blackpool?

  2. Can't see Peter Kay, so it must be the one in Paris. . .

    1. Probably. I think all of them are featuring the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

  3. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

  4. The Eifel Tower is Made in Romania-Resita ;)

  5. Thanks for this tip Cipsu - I had no idea this was the case and have now been reading about it here :

    I also notice that a Romanian engineer, Gheorghe Pănculescu, developed an innovative girder joining technique that was used by Eiffel :