Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923)

The French civil engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel is best known for the Eiffel Tower.

Portrait of Gustav Eiffel, old picture

image source: http://www.mondi.it/almanacco/immagini/gustave_eiffel.jpg

About his life

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on December 15, 1832. Interested in construction at an early age, Eiffel specialized in metal construction, most notably bridges. As his career advanced, Eiffel moved away from bridge work. At the end of 1866 Eiffel managed to borrow enough money to set up his own workshops (Eiffel et Cie). He is most famous for what would become known as the Eiffel Tower, which was begun in 1887 for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. Eiffel turned his interest to meteorology in his final years, studying the subject at length before his death on December 27, 1923.

info source: https://www.biography.com/people/gustave-eiffel-9285294

info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Eiffel

Portrait of Gustave Eiffel, Felix Nadar, 1888

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Eiffel#/media/File:Gustave_Eiffel_1888_Nadar2.jpg

What were his major works?

His most important work was the Eiffel Tower (1887-1889). The Tower was Eiffel’s successful design-submission for a structural centrepiece for the 1889 World Fair in Paris, to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. The final design featured a giant pylon, made up of four legs set apart at the base but drawing together as they rose, eventually coming together at the top. Each leg consisted of a lattice-like frame of wrought-iron girders, and all four legs were connected to each other by metal trusses at regular intervals.

Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, 1887-1889, Paris

image source: http://cdn.history.com/sites/2/2015/04/hith-eiffel-tower-iStock_000016468972Large.jpg

In 1881 Eiffel was contacted by Auguste Bartholdi who needed additional engineering expertise in order to complete the Statue of Liberty, after the death of Viollet-le-Duc. He was chosen because of his expertise with iron and wind-stress. Eiffel designed a brand new internal iron framework to support the copper body of the statue. The entire structure was first erected at the Eiffel works in Paris before being disassembled and shipped to the United States.

Eiffel’s pylon is visible in Paris, France, where the Statue was first constructed

info source: https://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/images/Pylon_resized.jpg

Among his bridges, he directed the erection of an iron bridge at Bordeaux in 1858. He bridged the Douro River (1877) at Oporto, with a (160-metres) steel arch. then, Eiffel designed the 540-foot (162-metres) span Garabit Viaduct (1880-1884) over the Truyère River in southern France, for many years the highest bridge in the world.

Garabit Viaduct, Gustave Eiffel, 1880-1884, Truyère River

image source: http://www.garabit-viaduc-eiffel.com/local/cache-vignettes/L550xH367/IMG_0323-ce8ca.jpg

Also, he designed the lofty, arched Gallery of Machines for the Paris Exhibition of 1867 and the movable dome of the observatory at Nice (1879).

info source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/architecture/gustave-eiffel.htm

info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gustave-Eiffel

Dome of Observatory, Gustave Eiffel, 1879, Nice

image source: http://www.klima-luft.de/steinicke/ngcic/persons/pic_obs/nice3.jpg