Peter Jones submitted these thoughts on the world's tallest man-made structures, inspired by the Eiffel Tower medal. Thanks!
The Atlas Numismatics list shows an Eiffel Tower medal, quite common, one of which (pictured) I just received in the mail last week! These were sold during the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris when the Eiffel Tower opened.
Why is the medal interesting? It shows an 1889 picture of the world's tallest man-made structures and lists their height in meters below. The Atlas Numismatic listing erroneously states it is a city view of Paris! But the Great Pyramid of Giza is not located in Paris!
Not unexpectedly several buildings are simply Parisian landmarks like the Paris Opera, Invalides, and Arc de Triomphe.
The history of the world's tallest man-made structures starts with the pyramids, next come cathedrals, the Eiffel tower, and finally skyscrapers.
A series of ever taller pyramids from ca. 2650 BCE culminated with the Great Pyramid of Giza, finished ca. 2570 BCE, at 481 feet (147 m). This remained the world's tallest structure until the Lincoln Cathedral in England was finished in 1311, measuring 525 feet (160m), but the spire collapsed in a storm in 1549. Several other churches followed but collapsed.
By 1647, the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza had eroded to 456 feet, and Strasbourg Cathedral (finished in 1439) was 10 feet higher at 466 feet. Rouen's Notre Dame finished in 1876 was 495 feet, and Cologne Cathedral, finished in 1880 was 515 feet.
In 1884, the Washington Monument was completed in Washington, D.C., at 555 feet, still the tallest masonry structure in the world. I show a lithograph of the tallest buildings in the world published that year, from Cram's Unrivaled Family Atlas of the World (courtesy of Wikipedia). It contains several errors.
Five years later the Eiffel Tower blasted the record at 1024 feet (300m), remaining the tallest structure until the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930.
Many of these structures are pictured and listed with their height on the Eiffel Tower medal.
The Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, is the world's tallest building today at 2,717 feet, but other taller buildings are under construction.
That lithograph is a great infographic!
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ATLAS NUMISMATICS SELECTIONS: JULY 30, 2023
Wayne Homren, Editor
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