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The Eiffel Tower is being built

The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is being built

The base of the Eiffel Tower would form a square. Its side would measure 410 feet (125 m). At each corner would sit a four-sided pier that curved inward as it rose. The piers would bear the weight of the tower. To provide a foundation for the piers, Eiffel’s workers dug down 33 feet (10 m) on the south and east sides and 49 feet (15 m) on the north and west. Workers poured 20 feet (6 m) of cement into each of the holes. They followed that with three layers of rock. Workers then drove an enormous anchor bolt—26 inches (66 centimeters) long—into the rock on each corner.

They attached a piece of iron called a shoe to each bolt. Inside each shoe was a sliding piece of metal called a piston. The piston could be used to make adjustments to the height of the piers. After the pistons were installed, the base of each pier was attached to an iron shoe. Work crews then began building the piers. Much of the work was prefabricated, or made ahead of time. Eiffel had a metal workshop in suburban Paris. Workers formed pieces in the shop. Then they sent them to the Champ de Mars site on horse-drawn wagons. At the tower site, steamdriven cranes lifted the pieces onto the structure. Workers used rivets (metal bolts) to secure the pieces in place.

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