"For the 1889 Paris Exposition, Jules Bourdais, a prominent French architect, proposed to erect a tower 360 metres (1200 feet) high in the centre of Paris, near the Pont-Neuf, with arc-lights strong enough to illuminate the whole city. By this means the street lighting of Paris, which at the time consisted of thousands of gas-lamps, was to be transformed into city lighting. This proposal by the builder of the Trocadéro was the subject of a detailed discussion, along with another vision involving a tower, that of the bridge builder Gustave Eiffel. Eventually, however, the committee preparing the exposition decided to accept Eiffel's project. No one doubted that it was technically possible to illuminate the whole of Paris from one source of light. In the end, Eiffel's tower was built, not because it was considered less far-fetched than Bourdais'—on the contrary, contemporaries feared being blinded by such a centralized light source."
—Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Disenchanted Night