The Eiffel Tower as many know was conceived by Gustave Eiffel and constructed as the show piece for the 1889 Paris Exhibition.
I recently managed to get hold of a programme that set out the events and amusements that the exhibition had to offer.
In the programme is described in some detail a description of the Tower.
Jane Avril herself visited the exhibition and used to enjoy ascending the tower that must have been quite a spectacle and experience for a lady of her time.
Here is the description as set out in the programme that accompanied the 1889 exhibition.
In order to attire the stranger, to create a great attraction which assured the success of the exhibition, it wanted something exceptional, unrivalled, and extraordinary. An engineer presented himself, Mr. Eiffel, already known by his considerable and keen works. He proposed to M. Locroy to erect a tower in iron which, reaching the height of three hundred metres would represent, at the industrial sight, the resultant of the modern progresses. Mr. Locroy reflected and accepted. Hardly twenty years ago, this project would have appeared fantastic and impossible. The state of the science of the iron constructions was not advanced enough, the security given by the calculations was not yet assured; today, they know where they are going, they are able to count the force of the wind. The resistance which the iron opposes it. Mr Eiffel came at the proper time.
And nevertheless how many people have prophesised that the tower would never be constructed? How many critics have fallen upon this audacious project? It was erected, however, and one perceives it from all of Paris; it astonishes and lets in ecstasy the strangers who come to contemplate it.
Let us describe it then in all its details, since it constitutes the success of the exhibition.
It is a pyramid with four bend acres connected two by two at their inferior part by arches of 50 metres. These arcs are oblique till at a certain height, then, the colossus having greatly widened its feet in order to prop well with buttress, rises straight towards the sky.
The opening of the feet is of a hundred metres from axis to axis, and a circumstance to be worth to remark, and which is the result of a hazard, the diagonal axis which passes through these two feet is directed according to the Meridian.
At 60 metres above the ground is the first floor. There the posts which form the corners, still oblique, are connected by a gallery of 15 metres of width on every front. Where the visitors who ascend find 4 pavilions richly adorned, which are nothing else than breweries and eating houses, more spacious than the handsomest on the Boulevard, a Flemish brewery, a Russian eating house, an English-American bar and the wine shop, style of Louis XIV. If you ascend during the times of meals, you will see that this spacious platform can contain about 5000 guests, who from their table enjoy one of the most curious panoramas.
But let us ascend higher up. Here we are on the 2nd stair bed, at a height of 117 metres. A glazed room, quarry of 30 metres aside, is opened before us. Let us still ascend, and at the height of 270 metres, we find a last room forming pavilion, crowned with a cupola and measuring 60 metres of development. There a coffee room offers us refreshments of various kinds, and all in drinking a bock, or tasting a glass, we discover the most splendid panorama which it may be possible to fancy.
Let us describe it minutely.
From all parts the void environs you; the 4 sides of the tower, sensibly brought nearer, give to the platform on which you are the appearance of a skiff. The air, the light fall upon you from the 4 cardinal points. In the perspective, the Mont-Valerien has descended under the horizon, the Trocadero under the Bots de Boulogne, the peninsula of Gennevilliers is extended like a little heap of ground, the numerous windings of the Seine wind their ways in the immense plane, like on a geographical map. At your left side, the hills of Mendon are all depressed.
At the right Montmartre, which seems a vessel entering in the side of a Parisian galere. At your feet the houses are very plainly, because you see the 4 sides which are holed by the windows, symmetric like points of dice, so well that Paris has an appearance of a vast party of biribi played by a giant on a green carpet.
In short, 120 kilometres are stretched out before you! For a few sous you can look in the telescope-glass, which will permit us to see, if the weather is clear, the coasts which dominate Rouen and the hills of the department of the Cote-d’Or.
This ascension attires you, visitor, and you lady, who doubted at the first sight, so much the colossus is enormous, that there are about 300 metres until the cupola, where are floating multi-colour flags. Do not deprive you of the pleasure to contemplate Paris from such a height.
For 2 francs the lifts will bring you to the second floor, for 5 francs you will be able to go to the top.
These lifts are in the number of 4, starting from the ground and following the declivity of the jambs which buttress the Tower. They deserve the two first platforms, but from the second, that is to say at the height of 117 metres, two other lifts, this time vertical, withdraw you smoothly till the eupola, with an uniform swiftness of a metre by a second, in such a way that the complete ascension will demand about 7 minutes.
Besides, if you have good legs, it belongs only to you, to reach on foot to the first galleries by the star. The charm of this ascending in spiral will pay you amply of your fatigue.
960 steps lead to the second platform.
1792 steps bring you to the top.
The total weight of the Tower Eiffel is of seven million kilogram’s. The construction has costs about 6 million. Mr Eiffel has received from the State one million five hundred thousand francs, taken upon the forty-three millions of the exhibition, and he enjoys the privilege of the exploitation of the Tower for 20 years.
They have calculated that the action of the wind upon their colossal monument is hardly to be appreciated. The fearful people can on this regard completely be assured.
The science has arrived in our days to determine with an absolute precision the pressure of the wind on the surface: that exercised on the Tower Eiffel, could be of 400 kilograms by square metre, corresponding for the whole monument to more than three millions of kilograms. This number is enormous, but we are sheltered from all fear when we know that the strongest tempests observed in Paris have never been accompanied by a wind superior of 150 kilograms by square metre. The day in which the wind would pull down the Tower, all monuments of Paris would be destroyed before it. That day has not yet come.
The tempest can pass, rush at the long pieces of iron, attack them in front or at three quarters, to run parallel to the ground or point from the top to the bottom and the Tower will remain impassable, and if it be one day necessary to assist to surmount the winds, all has been foreseen; in each one of three immense piles is lodged an hydraulic press strong enough to lift up its sides and maintain it upright in spite of all.
Put the proportion with all the famous monuments of Europe and America, the Tower Eiffel overpasses them in the following proportions: -
Notre Dame 66 metres
Le Pantheon 79 metres
The Invalids 103 metres
St Peters in Rome 132 metres
Cathedral in Strassburg 142 metres
The Great Pyramid of Egypt 146 metres
Cathedral of Cologne 150 metres
Monument of Washington 169 metres
Tower Eiffel 300 metres
In such way that the monument erected to Washington at Philadelphia, which was before the highest of the globe, is still overpassed of 131 metres.
Information re: Ascension
According to the specifications of the enterprise of the Tower, the privileged has obliged him after statutes, to ascend 2356 persons by hour to the first platform and 750 per hour to the summit.
The tariff of the ascensions is fixed at 2 francs for the first floor, 3 francs for the second and 5 francs to the summit.
Contrary to which passes usually, the prices are lessoned for the Sundays: it is one franc until the first platform, 1 franc 40 cents until the second, 2 francs until the summit, but this tariff is applied but from eleven in the morning till six o’ clock in the evening.
How is the control made? Or, to precise more, how do they pay the price of ascensions?
The administration has opened at this purpose 16 wickets. 10 on the ground floor, 4 at the first platform and 2 at the second.
Tickets are delivered there; red for the first platform, white for the second and blue for the summit.
The person at the destination of the first platform gives up his red ticket at the arrival. Having no more, he cannot ascend higher up but when he buys a second one – the white, which serves between the first and the second platform. Finally, to ascend to the summit, he must buy a blue ticket. Total: 5 francs.
And the pedestrians?
Those who are frightened or impressioned, have at their disposal two comfortable staircases for the service of the first platform.
This on the jamb no 4 to ascend and that of the number 2 to desend. They have four of them at their disposition between the first and second platform, two for the ascension and two for the descent.
One may ascend by foot or by the lift, the price is the same, and the tickets too, so well that the tickets once taken, for the top by instance, one may vary its pleasures in making one part of the way in one manner and the other in another.
Some persons have criticised the uniformity of the price adopted for the two manners of ascension, in saying that the person on foot ought to pay less than this one who uses the lifts but they wished to simplify to avoid the complications of the sale and the control.
The Tower, when it has received its maximum of visitors, can contain on them, namely: -
Each one of the eating house on the first floor 400
For the four 1600
1000 about can move them on each of the 4 exterior galleries 1000
Between the eating houses there are interior galleries able to contain together 400
Total for the first floor 6400
They can be 1500 on the second floor and 500 at the summit together 2000
The ascending persons, with the serving people can be valued to 2000
And you have, when the Tower is filled with visitors, a total of about 10,000
Then thousand persons upon this network of iron!
It is not dreadful, let us add in finishing that a certain number of shops surround the first floor, the space left free by the eating houses. The Figaro has a printing office there very elegantly installed.