Construction began on January 28, 1887. Legions of eager workers converged on the Champ-de-Mars to dig the foundations with picks and shovels. Slowly, but surely, four huge joists, tilted at 54 degree angles, were lifted into place with cranes and scaffolding, under the scrutiny of curious, if skeptical, observers. Erecting the tower was a feat of extreme precision. Each pillar had to be maneuvered to fit perfectly with the horizontal girders of the first level, 57 meters from the ground.
The tower was then assembled piece by piece. Its metal girders, prefabricated in Gustave Eiffelís workshops on the outskirts of Paris, were delivered to the site. All the workmen had to do was put them in place and rivet them together. It took exactly two years, two months and five days of work to complete the tower.
As a sneak preview, Eiffel organized a small party, during which he and his guests climbed all 1710 steps to the top of the tower and hoisted the French flag from the mast of what was to be the tallest monument in the world until 1930.
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