Gustave Eiffel

A French engineer, constructor of bridges and viaducts. He designed the Eiffel Tower and the internal structure of the Statue of Liberty. He was initially charged with corruption in the 1888 scandal of Ferdinand de Lesseps's failed Panama Canal project, but was cleared of all wrongdoing by a French appeals court in 1893. Nonetheless, he withdrew from commercial life and spent the rest of his years studying aerodynamics.

The excellent architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on December 15, 1832. As a diligent and promising student, he went to ?cole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures and afterwards became deeply involved in the design and building of French railways and bridges.

Eiffel worked on structures such as a bridge across the Garonne River at Bordeaux, train stations at Toulouse and Agen, and the Garabit Viaduct in southern France, some of which are still standing to this very day. But some of Eiffel’s most historic and most-known structures and designs are what makes him so special, his work on the Eiffel tower and the Statue of Liberty.

In 1885, Gustave Eiffel started on a project, a rather large lady called the Statue of Liberty, that was to be given as a gift to the United States by the French people as a sign of international friendship. Eiffel was one of the great minds behind Liberty along with Auguste Bartholdi and Richard M. Hunt.

Eiffel designed the wrought-iron skeleton for the inside of the Statue of Liberty. He also supervised the raising of Liberty. He calculated how much pressure would be put on each joint and how to distribute the weight and instructed how to assemble the various pieces of the great lady to maximize the safety and life of the standing statue.

Eiffel did all this very economically and his methods have not been beaten to this day. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel had a unique and unheard of understanding of math and science and used his abilities to the fullest. In his lifetime and through the Statue of Liberty, he prepared the world for modern skyscrapers and structures.

Eiffel is best known for the brilliant structure that shows off the most of his talent and genius, the grand Eiffel tower, a symbol of love, romance, and intellectual engineering French-style. The Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate the 100th-anniversary of the French Revolution at the Centennial Exposition of 1889.

Approximately 700 proposals were sent in for the design competition and among the hundreds of designs, Gustave Eiffel’s was unanimously chosen. Construction of the great tower started on July 1, 1887. Eiffel organized his workers’ schedules to perfection and the extremely careful design and construction of the tower needed no corrections.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel again showed his remarkable ability in mathematics and science in the Eiffel Tower. He calculated the distance between the 2,500,000 rivets in the tower to one-tenth of a millimeter, the wind pressures at all heights so that the tower could withstand them, and the curve of the base pylons so that the pulling and pushing of the wind was transformed into forces of compression so the wind would not affect the base. These methods inspired the architects and engineers of contemporary superskyscrapers such as the World Trade Center.

Others were proud that their country owned the tallest building in the world and still others were shocked and amazed at the height and power of the tower. In spite of these various emotions, Eiffel thought that his tower was a beautiful masterpiece. Later in his life, Gustave Eiffel added a meteorological station, a military telegraph, and an aerodynamics laboratory.

He feared that his precious tower would lose money and be disassembled after the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 closed down. Though it was not expected to, the Eiffel Tower actually paid for itself with the visitors’ fees it collected. To make all his hard and involved work worthwhile, Eiffel was given the Legion of Honneur, an outstanding achievement.

Gustave Eiffel has a huge reputation as an excellent architect of bridges, viaducts, and the Eiffel Tower. He helped and advised the designing and the construction of the Statue of Liberty and the church of Notre Dame Des Champs. Though rejected in his time, he was also the first person to think of putting a tunnel under the English Channel and an underground rail system underneath Paris.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel died on December 27, 1923 in his mansion on Rue Rabelais in Paris. He will always be remembered as an influential man of modern architects and a great mind of math, science, engineering, and architecture in history.