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I understand that the Tower was scheduled to be torn down after 20 years, I would like to know more about the radio waves and how they discovered that the Eiffel tower could be used as an antenna?

   I hope this answeres your question

The Eiffel tower in Paris was built for an Exhibition in celebration of the French Revolution. Construction began earnestly in 1884 and about 2 years and 7,000+ tons of iron later it was finished. It was purely decorative for the first 20 years. Then it became the most famous broadcasting mast in the world.
Since the turn of the century (not that one, the one before that) the tower has been used for radio transmission. The first signals were sent from the Eiffel in 1898! Eugène Ducretet successfully sent these first radio signals to the Pantheon. He took that to the French military authorities in 1901 with a plan to make the Tower into a long-distance radio antenna. thaty liked the idea a bunch. By 1903 a radio connection was made with the military bases around Paris, and then a year later with the East of France. A permanent radio station was installed in the Tower in 1906.

On 20 November 1913 the Paris Observatory, used the Eiffel Tower as an antenna, exchanging wireless signals with the United States Naval Observatory in Arlington, Virginia. The object of the transmissions was to measure the difference in longitude between Paris and Washington, DC. These shortwave broadcasts continued into the 1950s. In 1957 the set of antenna wires the ran from the summit to anchors on the Avenue de Suffren and Champ de Mars were removed. They were connected to long-wave transmitters in small bunkers. In 1957, the tower started transmitting both FM radio and television.

In 1921 when a radio studio was opened in the tower transmissions of the first French radio station, Radiola Paris began. They beat the BBC to the air by one week. In 1924 it changed its name to Radio Paris.

Today the Eiffel Tower has a 70-feet antenna on the very top which makes its height 1,070 feet. Today there is still a radio studio which is underground and near one of the four legs. There are other rooms for the actual transmitters at the top. The transmitter tower is still in active use for FM radio broadcast. Eiffel lived long enough to hear the first European public radio broadcast from an aerial on the Tower in 1921.

November 5, 1898
First wireless telegraph link spanning the four kilometers
between the Panthéon and the Eiffel Tower (Ernest Roger and
Eugène Ducretet).
December 15, 1903
Gustave Eiffel allows the Minister of War to place antennas on
the Tower, saying “I offer to take on all the costs that could result
from these experiments.”
January 21, 1904
The Eiffel Tower transmitter enters the history books when
the head of the Engineers’ Corp accepts Eiffel’s offer. Captain
Gustave Ferrié becomes the Tower’s second “great man”. The
military network is gradually established.
Links between the Eiffel Tower and the fortified towns of eastern
France guaranteed in all weather.
A link is set up with Casablanca during the Morocco campaign. At
night the station is relayed by the cruiser, the Kléber, transmitting
directly to the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower’s “military radio-telegraph station” is completed.
After wooden barracks, an underground station is installed.
January 1909
First wireless telephone trials at the Eiffel Tower by Colin and
May 23, 1910
The Eiffel Tower serves the French Navy with the first regular
time signal transmission service. Signals could be heard 5,200
kilometers away at night, and half of that distance during the day.
In the daytime, the signals are picked up at Batoum, Georgia, and
by night at Glace Bay, Canada. Thanks to Commander Ferrié, it
becomes possible to set up an international time organization
to unify the way time is measured throughout the world and to
determine longitudes accurately.
Link with dirigibles.
Link with airplanes.
• The Eiffel Tower plays a key role during the war. The Marne
taxis. Links with the La Fayette station in the USA in 1917.
• Mata-Hari is arrested.
• Zeppelin alerts (Louis de Broglie works from the Eiffel Tower).
November 10, 1918
The Tower picks up the following message: “The German
command agrees to the conditions of the Armistice that are
imposed on it.”
Lucien and Sacha Guitry carry out the first experiment with a
radio broadcast transmitted by the Tower.
A temporary studio is set up in the Tower’s North pillar.
• Maurice Privat launches the “Spoken Newspaper”.
• The first television tests carried out by Édouard Belin at the
Eiffel Tower mark the beginning of a new – and brilliant – career
for the Tower.
Three times a day, the Tower broadcasts the observations of 350
weather stations between Europe, North Africa and the Atlantic
Ocean (from Iceland to Cape Verde).
April 26, 1935
First television broadcast. From 60 lines at the outset, the number
rose to 441 lines in 1945.

The beginning of Eurovision: crowning of Queen Elizabeth II of
A television antenna is placed at the top of the monument. The
Tower “grows” from 300 to 318.70 meters.
To celebrate the Tower’s 75th anniversary, mountaineers climb
to the top and Eurovision broadcasts the exploit.
Launch of the Eiffel Tower Internet site ( and
After work carried out by Télédiffusion de France (TDF) on the
UHF antenna the Tower “grows” again, this time from 318.70 to
324 meters.
The first broadcasts of digital terrestrial television in Paris
originated from the transmitter on the Eiffel Tower


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Jon Catt


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