One of my favorite bits of trivia

When the Eiffel Tower was erected in 1889, it was the tallest structure in the world, a title it retained until the Chrysler Building in New York eclipsed it 41 years later. The Chrysler building held the record for about a year, only to be surpassed by the taller but far less attractive Empire State Building.

So, what had been the tallest structure before the Eiffel tower, and for how long did it hold the record?

This isn’t really a quiz since the answer can easily be looked up, but I’m going to let people post answers in the comments just to add that little bit of anticipation.

7 thoughts on “One of my favorite bits of trivia

  1. In the course of “researching” the answer, I couldn’t help thinking that Al Gore’s invention is pretty cool.

    I also discovered an extra credit question: At what point in world history was the tallest structure located in the Land of Enchantment?

  2. Bob, the Padrres don’t have to be bad at all. It only requires that I look on and say, “Holy crap! The Padres are in first place!?” The resulting tumble is as inevitable as sliced bread.

    I considered putting the qualifiers “permanent manmade” in front of “structure”, but that would have caused problems because the Eiffel Tower was not intended to be permanent. I let manmade be implied.

    The Great Pyramid of Giza was completed around 2560 B.C., and was the tallest structure for about 3,500 years. Around 1031 it was surpassed by… the pyramid next door, whose name I can’t remember. It wasn’t that the other pyramid got taller — the Great Pyramid lost about 10 meters as the result of a massive earthquake and subsequent erosion. Many of the polished (and more weather-proof) stones from the top of the great pyramid can be found in nearby mosques.

    You have to be impressed that these two structures stood tallest for much of recorded history. The idea that anything we build today will be around in 4500 years is laughable.

    I’m curious what the budget for building these things was, expressed as a percent of the total economy of the builders.

  3. One other thing known is that the workers who built the pyramids drank beer.

    Don’t try to make a wonder of the world without it!

  4. I don’t know about tallest, but I do know the world’s highest dam and biggest man-made (women didn’t do construction work back then) reservoir, as of 1916, was Elephant Butte. It was on the front cover of Scientific American. It continued to hold the record until the 1930s, when Boulder (later known as Hoover) Dam was built to tame the Colorado River, create Lake Mead, and provide hydorelectric power for Los Angeles.

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