Today in History – March 31, 1889 – Eiffel Tower opens. The 300m Eiffel Tower was commissioned to commemorate the French Revolution. Amazingly, all of the elements were prepared in Gustav Eiffel’s factory located at Levallois-Perret on the outskirts of Paris. There were 18,000 pieces used to construct the Tower. Each piece was designed and produced with an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre. The construction crew of 150 to 300 workers assembled the tower on site like a gigantic erector set. The foundation work began in January 1887 and was completed in five months. The tower was assembled twenty-one months later on March 31, 1889. Eiffel received his decoration from the Legion of Honour on the narrow platform at the top.”
Eiffel’s accomplishments over a century ago are amazing considering the technology of his time. Yet there is still a lesson for us today in the benefits of lean construction techniques, an approach that maximizes value to the customer and minimizes waste.
For more information, see the Engineering Pathway‘s resources on the Eiffel Tower and Construction Engineering. For related educational resources, visit the Civil Engineering Education, Construction Engineering Education, or Architectural Engineering Education community sites.
Also today in 1966, the U.S.S.R. launches first lunar orbiter.