What Color Was the Eiffel Tower Originally Painted?

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The ‘original’ color of the Eiffel Tower can be traced back to two different points: it was painted a brighter red shade called ‘Venetian red’ when its parts were first being fabricated in 1887-88 (prior to assembly), but it was painted a more subdued reddish-brown hue when it was constructed in 1889. Since its initial construction, this iconic landmark has been repainted an average of once every seven years. Its color has changed several times, starting off in the red color family, then moving to ochre yellow and finally settling in the specially formulated Eiffel Tower Brown that it has been painted since 1968.

The Eiffel Tower’s paint job has much more than a purely cosmetic function. Rather than simply being an aesthetic task, the proper application and maintenance of the Eiffel Tower’s paint is essential to ensuring the building’s structural integrity. Thick and carefully applied layers of paint help to prevent the oxidation and corrosion of the puddle iron construction. Though technology has progressed since the tower was first constructed, painters still use hand painting techniques developed in the 19th century and used by the first generation of workers responsible for painting this iconic tower.