La Tour Eiffel Turns 125

Eiffel TowerThe Eiffel Tower celebrates its 125th birthday today. 

Made from wrought iron (a more common structural material before the rise of structural steel), this illustrious symbol of Paris and France was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, which was to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. A demonstration of technological prowess at the end of the 19th Century, the tower was a defining moment of the industrial era.

Standing at 1,023 ft, it was the tallest tower in the world at the time of its construction - a title it would hold until the construction of New York’s steel-framed Chrysler Building more than 40 years later - and has been imitated in various places around the world.

An estimated 2,500,000 rivets, 7,300 tons of wrought iron and 60 tons of paint were used in the tower’s construction, which took a little over two years. The original plan was that the tower would only stand for 20 years, but it quickly became an icon. Today it welcomes almost 7 million visitors a year.

In recognition of this special occasion, the Eiffel Tower offers an immersive virtual dive in 1900 and a public digital quiz on its Facebook page, in partnership with the Petit Palais and the “Paris 1900, the City of entertainment” exhibition.