Warsaw’s radio mast broke records (until it collapsed)

The Warsaw radio mast was the tallest man-made structure on the planet

Every once in a while you come across a piece of history that is super fascinating, but that you knew nothing about. This is the case (for me, anyway) of the Warsaw radio mast.

As the tallest radio tower in the world, this masterpiece of engineering has truly reached the skies. As the tallest man-made structure on Earth from 1974 to 1991, it set records and expanded imaginations everywhere.

What was it built for?

Image: Pinterest

The Warsaw Radio Tower is the brainchild of Polish architect Jan Polak. Construction began in July 1970. It was constructed of hollow steel tubes, arranged in a stable truss design.

Because of this, the tower reached great heights. So big, in fact, that it was bigger than any other man-made object on planet Earth!

Warsaw Radio and Television used the Warsaw radio mast to transmit information by long wave radio transmission. Because it was so strong and big that it could transmit waves all the way to the United States!

Took a while to get to the top

With great power comes great responsibility. There was a lot of maintenance required on the mast. Ten years after the tower was built, a routine inspection revealed wind-related structural damage. Repairing the mast was difficult for many reasons, including a lack of budget.

The people who had to maintain the mast neglected their duties. I wonder if it’s partly because it took 30 minutes to reach the top of the mast…in an elevator!

What goes up must come down

For all the skill and genius that went into the Warsaw radio mast, the neglect was too much for the structure. On August 8, 1991, no longer able to support its weight with the damage it had sustained, the tallest structure on Earth collapsed. It bent in half and then broke, destroying the entire top half of the structure.

Visiting Warsaw Radio Mast Ruins Today

The men responsible for neglecting the Warsaw radio mast were sentenced to two years in prison.

A different transmitter was built in place of the ruined structure. However, today the remains of the mast are still visible. Debris still remains where the mast landed that day in 1991. This supreme achievement of human engineering and design lives on in the record books.

If you want to visit the Warsaw radio mast, here is the geolocation. And if you go, kudos to you for paying attention to obscure bits of history!

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