1889 Paris Exposition – Eiffeltower

Paris Exposition –  Eiffel tower 1889
Exposition Universelle de Paris 

Paris France
6 May to 31 October

The breath-taking Eiffel Tower was the beautiful entrance for the World Exhibition in 1889 the world’s tallest building for many years. The expo was in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

The Eiffel tower created by Gustave Eiffel was intended as a monument to the technical and substantive expertise in in France, but also as an observation tower to the city and entrance arch for the expo.

The tower was supposed to be demolished after twenty years, but was allowed to remain as it was convenient to use it for communication purposes and eventually as a TV and radio mast.

When the Eiffeltower was built, the critics said it was-“ugly and horrible”. Several French writers protested against the tower in the magazine Le Temps February 14, 1887 among them Alexandre Dumas and Guy de Maupassant. In the petition they stated that “the senseless, monstrous Eiffel Tower” would be ugly and give shame to Paris. It took approximately one year and nine months to build the iron tower. The Eiffel Tower was the world’s highest building until 1930, when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York.

After the World Expo, it was planned that the tower would be demolished, but as we know, it was not. The Eiffeltower was built in just over two years – it started in January 26, 1887, and the tower was opened March 31, 1889.

Other interesting facts from this world exhibition

Edison was once again at the center with his latest invention – the light bulb. It was now for the first time possible to keep the exhibition open in the evenings. There was also various types of entertainment. For example Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Company, led by Colonel WF Cody.


The Spanish contribution at the world exposition this year consisted of an enlightened bullring with a movable roof.

The postcards

The first mass production postcards were made in the context of world expositions. First, the news was Paris Exposition 1889-90 where – the most popular subject of course, could  you guess? -Yes it was the Eiffel Tower!

A debate started about a group of exotic belly dancers, which, according to contemporary testimony exerted great attraction for the male audience. Maybe it was not a coincidence that the famous show Moulin Rouge was inaugurated at the same time as the Eiffel Tower and the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

Pictures from the Swedish magazine Illustrerad Tidning 1889

Among the exhibition Swedish contribution was Per Hasselberg sculpture “frog” and Tim Lindberg with his contribution “fog”.

Click to enlarge the following pictures 

Swedish Athletes at the World Expo Paris 1889.

Swedish Pavillion Paris 1889.

Interior from the Swedish Pavillion Worl Expo Paris 1889.

Eiffel Tower at the World Expo Paris 1889.


Eiffeltower 1888 Image: Louis-Émile Durandelle, photographer [French, 1839 – 1917] , Exposition universelle de 1889 / État d’avancement. French, November 23, 1888



2 thoughts on “1889 Paris Exposition – Eiffeltower

  1. Does anyone have any information on a Charles Thomas Clemetshaw, editor of Le Danton and wrote under the name of Cilwa. He was a freethiniker and travelled.

    He was brought up in Paris and attended a private school

    Many thanks


  2. L.S.,
    Ik ben in het bezit van 2 gebonden exemplaren: Expositon de Paris 1889 – Tome I en Tome II
    zeer veel illustraties , o.a. in kleur.Ik ben evt. bereid deze van de hand te doen
    Wellicht kan iemand mij hierbij enig nuttige informatie verschaffen??

    m.vr.gr. H. van Motman

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