French engineer who constructed the Eiffel Tower for the 1889 Paris Exhibition. The tower, made of iron, is 320 m/1,050 ft high and stands in the Champ de Mars, Paris. Sightseers may ride to the top for a view.
Eiffel set up his own business in Paris in 1867 and quickly established his reputation with the construction of a series of ambitious railway bridges, of which the span across the Douro at Oporto, Portugal, was the longest at 160 m/525 ft. In 1881 he provided the iron skeleton for the Statue of Liberty.
Eiffel was born in Dijon and attended the Ecole des Arts et Manufactures in Paris. Specializing in the design of large metal structures, he was one of the first to use compresssed air for underwater foundations, for the iron railway bridge over the Garonne at Bordeaux. He also participated in the French attempt to build the Panama Canal, in the course of which he designed and partly constructed some huge locks. When the entire project collapsed in 1893, Eiffel went to prison for two years. In 1900 he took up meteorology and later, using wind tunnels, carried out extensive research in aerodynamics.
Originally, the Eiffel Tower was intended to be dismantled at the conclusion of the exhibition, but it was preserved as a radio transmitting station. For some time it was by far the highest artificial structure in the world.
Eiffel, (Alexandre) Gustave
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Full text Article Construction of Eiffel Tower, designer Gustave Eiffel hoisting flag on top of Tower, April 1889, engraving, France
Credit: Construction of Eiffel Tower, designer Gustave Eiffel hoisting flag on top of Tower, April 1889, engraving, France / De Agostini Picture Lib