Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923)

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was a famous French civil engineer, who is best known for the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

Photo of Eiffel from 1910, in black and white.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel in 1910

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About Eiffel’s Life

Alexander-Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on December 15, 1832. As a civil engineer, he specialized in metal structures, primarily bridges. As his career progressed, he retired from bridges and took a loan to open his workshops (Eiffel et Cie), at the end of 1866. Then, his most famous work, the Eiffel Tower, started construction in 1887 for the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris. Additionally, in the last years of his life, he took an intense interest in meteorology. He died on December 27, 1923.

Gustave Eiffel and four other people at the summit of the Eiffel Tower, 1889.
Gustave and four other people at the summit of the Eiffel Tower in 1889

Image source: by trialsanderrors

Eiffel’s Major Works

  • The Eiffel Tower (1887-1889): This piece was Eiffel’s proposal for the Exposition Universelle (World Fair) of 1889 in Paris, to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. The final design involved a giant pylon, made up of four legs spaced at the base but joined as they rose to the top. Each leg consisted of a trellis structure of wrought-iron beams, and all four legs linked together by metal trusses at regular intervals.
Eiffel Tower photo in the winter, with snow on the ground, a blue sky and trees lining either side.
Eiffel Tower photo in the winter

Image source: by karlnorling

Eiffel Tower photo from the ground up, it is nighttime and the tower is sparkling with lights.
Photo of the tower from the ground up

Image source: by Rogue Bacon

  • Statue of Liberty: In 1881 Eiffel was contacted by Auguste Bartholdi who, after Viollet-le-Duc’s death, needed additional engineering skills to complete the Statue of Liberty. He was chosen for his experience with iron, and due to the stress of the wind, he designed a brand-new internal iron structure to support the statue’s copper body. The structure was initially erected at factories in Paris and was later dismantled and shipped to the United States.
Eiffel Tower Constructions in March 1888: A photo of the construction of the structure, the legs are only shown to be complete in this photo.
Eiffel Tower Constructions in March 1888

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Aerial view of Eiffel Tower and Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889.
Aerial view of the Eiffel Tower and Exposition Universelle, Paris 1889

Image source: by trialsanderrors

Between his bridges, he created the following:

  • Iron bridge in Bordeaux in 1858
  • Gallery of Machines for the Paris Exhibition of 1867
  • Movable dome of the Nice observatory (1879)
  • Bridge over the Douro River (1877) in Oporto, with a steel arch (160-metres)
  • Span Garabit Viaduct (1880-1884) over the Truyère River in southern France
The Garabit Viaduct: A large red bridge created by Gustave Eiffel.
Garabit Viaduct (1880-188) by Gustave Eiffel

Image source: by M McBey

"La passerelle" links Bry sur Marne and Le Perreux sur Marne- France-by Gustave Eiffel around 1893.
“La passerelle” (1893) by Gustave

Image source: by Jean-

Mong Bridge over Bến Nghé River, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (1882)-removed 2005 and restored after 2011.
Mong Bridge (1882)-removed 2005 and restored after 2011

Image source: by Diego_Delso

Photo of another Eiffel's bridge, La Réole.
La Réol

Image source: by Granpic

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