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Podcast: Tale of Two Towers and an Urban Confluence

Podcast: Tale of Two Towers and an Urban Confluence
Listen to a brief tale that connects a Silicon Valley electric tower in the 1800s to the Eiffel Tower and how it may inspire a new icon.

Did you know that one of the engineers who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, was apparently influenced by the design of another tower eight years before the completion of the French icon? In 1881, an impressive 237-foot-tall electric light tower was constructed in downtown San Jose, CA. Apparently, one of the Eiffel Tower engineers, Maurice Cullen, may have been influenced by the original San Jose Electric Tower.

Although long gone, the San Jose Electric Tower has inspired a competition to remake the amazing structure for today’s modern times. The San Jose Light Tower Corporation (SJLTC) plans to create an iconic world-class destination landmark for Silicon Valley. To achieve that end, a competition has been created known as the Urban Confluence Silicon Valley World-Wide Open Ideas Competition. The event is open to all with significant prize money going to the top selected entries. The competition deadline is July 1, 2020.

To learn more about the two towers and the Urban Confluence competition in Silicon Valley, Design News talked briefly with Sean O’Kane, producer of the “Did You Know…” series and head of Big Kahuna Productions.



Electric Town from the 1800s in San Jose, CA. (Image Source:  SanJoseArchElectricTower, 19th century engraving via Public Domain)

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier

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