Eiffel Facts. La Vie en Rose, Part 6


Everyone has heard of and seen pictures of the beautiful Eiffel tower, which dominates the skyline of Paris. Most of us, however, know very little about it or its construction. In our recent trip to Paris, we learned a number of very interesting facts about this world-renown monument, designed by Gustave Eiffel, and built to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution. Work started in January 1887 and was finished on March 31, 1889. In total, it was in construction for 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days! They sure worked fast in those days!

Fifty engineers and architects put their heads together to complete the blue prints for this massive structure, and it took 250 workers to put it in place. If you think about it, that's a ratio of 1 engineer/architect per 5 workers! Who is more important?

Pickaxes were used to dig to a depth of seven meters, and sixteen stone blocks were used for each corner of the tower. My poor back!

During the construction, there were no elevators for the workers. This meant that going down was much faster than going up! "Do I really have to go all the way up?"

Scaffolding was used only for the first floor, but not on any of the higher levels. What a nightmare those workers must have faced!

To help the poor workers save time, a cafeteria was built on the first floor. It must have taken them all day to climb up that tower and back!

In 1905, someone succeeded in climbing the stairs to the first floor in 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Unfortunately, no one seems to remember his name. Poor guy! All that running for nothing!

It takes 60 tons of paint to repaint the Eiffel tower each seven years. Twenty-five daredevil painters are hired for 18 months. Naturally, unleaded paint is used to save the environment. The tower itself weighs 10,100 tons, minus the 60 tons of paint naturally!

Between 1982 and 1985, renovations to the Eiffel tower were made. At that time, it somehow lost 1,348 tons of its weight. I wonder what method they used. Would it work for me? Nah!

The tower itself is 324 meters high (higher than a building containing 120 floors), and it takes 1,665 steps to go up to the top. Believe it or not, some hated these steps so much that instead they climbed the tower using ropes, just like alpinists. That's quite innovative! Would you like to join them?

All in all, a lot of pain and nightmarish effort went into building the Eiffel Tower. Was it worthwhile?

Just ask the millions of tourists who visit her (the tower is feminine in French) yearly! Some even refer to her as one of the seven wonders of this world.

Can suffering be worthwhile?

Absolutely! Especially if we compare it with the glorious end result!

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Rom 8:17-18 NIV)

Would you like to join me with some ropes to climb this beautiful tower? Why use the stairs if we have other means?

Rob Chaffart

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