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Eiffel Tower Replica
Hamilton, Bloemfontein, Free State

Date:1968
Type:Tower
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
Alt: 1403m

In 1964 Mr. Schimmel the (then) Manager of National and Overseas Modular Construction (NOMC) in Bloemfontein decided to build a 1:10 replica of the Eiffel Tower. It was erected in 1968, some 80 years after the inauguration of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The NOMC archive was unfortunately lost in a fire many years ago and the General Assembly drawings of the Eiffel Tower replica were unfortunately lost. However the caption of a photograph published shortly after completion provides some useful information about the structure:

  • Total height: One hundred and fifty feet (45 720 mm)
  • Foundation structure: Four concrete pad footings each of forty tons
  • Designed sideways deflection: Five inches (125 mm)
  • Anticipated vertical movement: Four inches (100 mm)
  • Intended as an 'advertisement' for the company
  • Also used as an aerial for the company's internal radio communication;
  • Fitted with a lightning conductor, with 200 lightning strikes anticipated per year

The steel used for the structure of the tower was all "off-cuts" from NOMC's factory. The local Fire Brigade assisted with their long ladder during the assembly process and an Army helicopter was used to lift the top-most section of the tower into position.

Information and archived photograph provided by Louisa Pieters, Sales Secretary, National and Overseas Modular Construction (Pty) Ltd; via William Martinson, February 2022.

Translation of the Afrikaans caption of the archive photograph:

The tourist who enters or leaves Bloemfontein will certainly blink his eyes and wonder if he perchance landed in France. But this perfect replica of the Eiffel Tower stands with its feet firmly in the Free State's earth – Just outside Bloemfontein. The tower of a hundred and fifty feet high [45m] was built by a steel construction company in the city for amongst other, advertisement purposes. It is also fitted with a radio broadcasting system, so that the company can remain in contact with its representatives. In a strong wind the top of the tower can swing five inches back and forth, and expansion on hot days can move the top point by up to four inches. When the sun sets it returns to its original position. Four concrete blocks each weighing forty tons anchor the tower's feet firmly on the ground. It has been estimated that lightning will strike the tower about 200 times a year. It is however fitted with lightning conductors and is maintained as a protection for people and surrounding buildings.

Translated by Michael Birch, March 2022

These notes were last edited on 2022 05 09