Gustave Eiffel, his Tower and the Statue of Liberty

On 15 December, in 1832 an extraordinary French civil engineer and architect was born: this was Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.

Eiffel was a graduate of the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures of Paris, and he made a name with various bridges for the French railway network, most famously the Garabit viaduct.

He is best known for the world-famous Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France. The design of the Eiffel Tower was originated by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who had discussed ideas for a centerpiece for the Expo. And since May 1884 that Koechlin, working at his home on an outline drawing of their scheme until the beginning of 1886 very little happened. On 12 May of the same year a commission was set up to examine Eiffel’s system and its competitors and on 12 June it presented its decision, which was that only Eiffel’s proposal met their requirements. After some arguments about the exact site for the tower, a contract was signed on 8 January 1887.


The tower had been a subject of some controversy, attracting criticism both from those who did not believe it is feasible and from those who objected on artistic grounds and looks.

But before that, in 1881 Eiffel was contacted by Auguste Bartholdi who ha a need of an engineer to help him to realize another huge order, this time from the other side of the Atlantic, the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel was nominated because of his already involvement with wind stresses. Eiffel invented a structure consisting of a four-legged pylon to support the copper sheets that they made up the body of the statue. The entire statue was created at the Eiffel works in Paris before being pull to pieces and shipped to the United States.

Eiffel is a star through his extraordinary engineering works he accomplished in his time. This tower finally became the symbol of Paris and a huge touristic attraction for the whole France! Let’s go to the top guys and gals!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Baby Face Nelson

Lester Joseph Gillis was born on December 6, 1908. He was known under the pseudonym George Nelson and he was a bank robber and murderer in the 1930s. Gillis was better known as Baby Face Nelson, a name given to him due to his youthful look and his small stature. He was usually referred by criminal associates as “Jimmy”.  Nelson entered into a partnership with John Dillinger, helping him escape from prison in the famed Crown Point, Indiana Jail escape, and was later considered along with the remaining gang members as public enemy number one.

Nelson was blamable for the murder of several people, and has the uncertain distinction of having killed more FBI agents in the line of duty than any other person. Nelson was shot by FBI agents and died after a shootout often called “The Battle of Barrington”. The Barrington gun battle exploded as Nelson, with Helen Gillis and John Paul Chase as passengers, drove a stolen V8 Ford South towards Chicago on State Highway 14.

The date was November 27, 1934 in a street in Barrington outside of Chicago.

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Operation Bernhard

Trying to make a tradition in eCharta blog we’re publishing a paper story once a week. Your paper stories are welcome!

This time I’d like to go through a really exciting and known story. All 2nd World War enthusiasts I’m sure they heard about it!

Adolf Hitler had been warming up his engines, both before and during World War II, in order to exterminate certain groups of human beings considered as persona non-grata on this planet. But some other stories occurred during this holocaust dark period of our modern history.

In the concentration camps you could find many capable people for any job that you could take advantage of their talents!

So, in the summer of 1942, the Germans undertook Operation Bernhard, in which a skilled group of Jewish prisoners was gathered at Sachsenhausen to forge British banknotes. Under a lot of time pressure -and not only – they made pieces of art! Notes like these £ 20 or 10 are considered the best fake British money ever made, and were successfully passed off around the world, even circulating in England. These notes passed the test even in Bank of England!

Their story was featured in a recent film, “The Counterfeiters.”

A strong paper story…

20 British pounds made by Operation Bernhard in 1942 with date: Aug 15, 1935

10 British pounds made by Operation Bernhard in 1942 with date: April 16, 1935

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