On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer. Here are 5 facts you might not know about the Eiffel Tower…
It Was Meant to be Temporary
Yes, the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be a temporary installation for the 1889 World Fair, held at Paris to commemorate 100 years of the French Revolution. Originally, the structure was scheduled to be taken down in 1909. But an antenna was added at the top of the tower to handle wireless signals, so the building was never torn down. During the First World War, the telegraph transmitter in the Eiffel Tower helped to jam communications by the Germans. The Eiffel Tower is still used today to beam radio and TV broadcasts around the world.
A Con Man Managed to Convince Two Different People to "Buy" The Tower One of the disadvantages of having the reputation of "was meant to be temporary" is that people will take advantage of that. One man did just that, conning two different people out of money by claiming that the Tower was being sold for scrap. The man, Victor Lustig, was known as one of the most dangerous and clever conmen around, and one victim was so embarrassed at his naivete that he didn't report how much he'd lost.
It’s Technically Illegal to Photograph The Eiffel Tower at Night The Tower lights up each hour at night and sparkles in what is called the Illumination Show. However, you could be fined for taking a picture of this and sharing it on Facebook, since the government claims that this light display is ‘art work’ and therefore, copyrighted.
It Grows When the Sun Is Out On warm, sunny days, the side of the Tower that is exposed to the sunlight actually expands due to the effect of the heat on the metal. That means the rest of the Tower leans away a little bit from the sun. The leaning isn't drastic — about 18 centimeters, or around 7 inches. The Tower contracts once the environment cools off.
An American Is Married to the Tower No, Mrs. Eiffel is not the wife of the late engineer who built the tower. It is actually an American named Erika Aya (or Erika Eiffel, as she prefers to be called) who actually married the Tower in a commitment ceremony in 2007! Ms. Eiffel suffers from paraphilia, which helps explain her odd obsession with a Paris landmark. Paraphilia is a medical condition where people can develop relationships with inanimate objects. Before the nuptials, she served in the United States Air Force and was a world-renowned competitive archer.