You should be presently hearing an extract from Maurice Ravel's 'Valses nobles et sentimentales'



Reminder: as already pointed out elsewhere, almost all the pictures available on this site are protected against copying and downloading, and this is especially the case of some very rare archives concerning Gustave Eiffel. By the way, I hope that you are realizing that you're -after me- the first people ever to contemplate these images of Gustave Eiffel and his tower in 3D! Besides that, some stains on the pictures are not quite accidental!!!

The builders of the Eiffel Tower

By the way, have you ever been to Disneyland? In Marne-la-Vallée, near Paris, you see a lot of characters and different things, but nothing which reminds you of the great artist named Walt Disney! What a pity that the brand 'Disney' has completely supplanted the creator of comics. The same thing obviously occurred to some great fashion designers whose names (Saint-Laurent, Dior, Paco Rabane, Chanel...) have been reduced to single brands and who are even sometimes dispossessed of their own names by financiers.

For my part, what I find truly regrettable especially on behalf of the young audience is their ignorance of certain things which should belong to the ordinary culture. Let's consider another great artist, and ask some teenagers what the name 'Picasso' means to them. I would bet that almost all of them would answer that it is the name of a car by Citroën!

I often visit the Eiffel Tower, especially to make photographs. The Tower is probably the most difficult monument to photograph, because of its arrow-shaped form (wide base and narrow top) and of the contrast between the darkness at the bottom, and the brightness of the sky at the top, where it is systematically backlit.

It happened that one day, paving my way through the packed crowd waiting on the ground I discovered an object which I had never noticed before: a bust of Eiffel. What a surprise! Sure that it should remind the visitors of the creator of the tower! So I promised, to write to Disneyland, and to suggest that they install some busts of Walt Disney at the entrance to their parks!

< br />

Of course you all know that the most trusted name in communication with the Eiffel Tower is Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, who originally simply referred to the building as the "300-meter tower". However, opponents of the project used "Eiffel Tower," which eventually prevailed and so to this day remained.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was born on December 15th 1832 in Dijon/France. His ancestors had emigrated in the early 18th century from the small town of Marmagen in the northern Eifel (Germany) to France. Since the French could not pronounce well the actual family name "Bönickhausen", the family took its name from their home region, but with two "f".

The "iron magician" as Eiffel was called at the time has actually created much more: especially revolutionary bridges of iron and steel. Eiffel became immortal by the iron tower, which was built for the Paris World Exhibition in 1899. The idea for the tower was not really from him, but from his colleagues Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier. For the design of the Eiffel Tower was the architect Stephen Sauvestre responsible. He had been commissioned by the Swiss Maurice Koechlin, who had together with his colleague Emile Nougier the idea for the building. Together, the two made on the first draft of the tower.

To tell the truth Eiffel was a little skeptical about the idea of an iron tower, but finally took fully the project. First, he let the plans optimized by an architect, and made from now on at every occasion as much publicity for the project as he could. Koechlin said later: "The idea and the calculations are mine, but the father of the tower is Eiffel"! The two engineers kept up to old age mutual respect and recognition.

After he abandoned the metal constructions, which had brought him some bitter failures -let's think of a railway bridge that collapsed in Switzerland (near Basel), killing dozens of people- Eiffel would manage to bounce in different directions, for instance in the achievement of wind tunnel tests.

As for me, I consider that Eiffel belongs to that small family of great pioneers of the scientific and technical world, along with some great inventors of the car industry, railroad, aviation, radio, television, photography, cinema, etc. Let's just think of Johannes Gutenberg, Henry Ford, Ferdinand Porsche, Louis Pasteur, Alexander Fleming, the Wright and Lumière Brothers, etc. Those inventors, researchers and brilliant artisans have done more for humanity than all the kings and politicians put together!