WTF Fun Fact 13114 – The Eiffel Tower is Taller in Summer

The Eiffel Tower is taller in summer (it also shrinks in the winter). The reason? Thermal expansion (and contraction).

How is the Eiffel Tower taller in summer?

At 330 meters high, you won’t be able to tell just by looking at it that the Eiffel Tower grows by 15 centimeters in the summer. At 132 years old, the Tower spent 42 glorious years as the world’s tallest building. And the structure wasn’t even meant to be permanent.

The Eiffel tower is made of iron, puddled iron (or wrought iron) to be exact. And to be even more precise, it’s puddled iron from the Forges de Pompey near Nancy, France.

At the time, architect Gustave Eiffel had relied heavily on iron and had not worked with steel in any significant way in his architecture. Of course, steel does not change during temperature fluctuations, whereas iron does.

The growing and shrinking Tower

According to the structure’s tourism website (cited below):

“When temperatures rise, the Tower increases in size! This is a natural physical phenomenon called thermal expansion. Heat causes an increase in volume that makes the Eiffel Tower a few centimeters taller. This expansion also causes the Tower to tilt slightly away from the sun. The sun only hits one of the 4 sides of the Tower creating an imbalance with the other 3 sides, that remain stable, thus causing the Eiffel Tower to lean. In this way, the sun’s movement over the course of a clear day can cause the top of the Tower to move in a more or less circular curve measuring approximately 15 centimeters in diameter.”

You probably can’t see it in your photos, but you read that right – the Tower does lean slightly in the summer since the sun only hits one side directly, causing it to expand.

This expansion goes away when the sun isn’t strong.

Thermal contraction is a winter problem. During the cold months, the metal structure shrinks from its normal height.

You might think all this contracting and shrinking causes the iron to become weaker, but the Tower is so large that there’s no risk of cracking. It was also built to withstand wind. In fact, it was designed to sway with the wind (or at least vibrate) to avoid structural damage.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Why does the Eiffel Tower change size?” —

WTF Fun Fact 12790 – Dog Branded a Fake Hero By NYT

In 1908, the New York Times ran a story calling a dog in Paris a fake hero. But before you jump to the canine’s defense, you might want to hear why. It turns out he was a bit of a bad boy.

Dog Saves Child

As the story is told, a heard a child screaming for help one day by the Seine river in Paris. And like a proper hero, he jumped in to rescue the poor kiddo.

Of course, he was greatly rewarded.

It turns out that the slab of meat he received as a reward was something he didn’t want to give up. So he presumably figured he’d just wait by the Seine to see if his heroics could be of service again. And it didn’t take long for another child to fall in.

Once again, the dog saved the child and was rewarded.

Now, remember the story of Pavlov’s dogs.

“Fake hero” dog pushes children

Eventually, someone noticed that a suspicious number of children were falling into the Seine, and always nearby a certain meat-loving canine. At first, people thought there was some sort of child-drowning criminal wandering about the neighborhood.

It didn’t take long for people to figure out that the dog eventually started pushing kids in if he had to wait too long for a rescue and reward scenario to present itself.

That’s what landed him on the front page of the NYT in a story titled “DOG A FAKE HERO.”

Now, whether the story is true or not, we can’t say. We only know what the NYT reported. Sadly, they didn’t follow up on what may have happened to the dog nor did they mention whether or not any of the children noticed that they took a swim courtesy of the canine.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “The Dog Who Kept Pushing Kids Into A River To Acquire Steak Rewards” — IFL Science