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