Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (Dijon, 15. December 1832. – Paris, 27. December 1923) was a French civil engineer and scientist. A graduate of École Centrale Paris, he became world famous by building various bridges for the French railway . Gustave Eiffel began to specialize in constructing with metal after college, and his early work focused chiefly on bridges. In 1879, the chief engineer on the Statue of Liberty died and Eiffel was hired to replace him, going on to design the metallic skeleton of the structure. In 1882, Eiffel began work on the Garabit viaduct, which was, at the time, the highest bridge in the world. Soon thereafter, he began work on what would become known as the Eiffel Tower, the structure that would cement his name in history.
Eiffel’s own company
Gustave Eiffel also founded the project bureau called Eiffel et Cie (“Eiffel and Company”) which, after his death, continued to work.
About six months after his retirement from the Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel, Eiffel was approached by Felix-Max Richard, owner of the Comptoir General de Photographie. Felix-Max Richard had just lost a lawsuit against him by his brother to enforce a noncompetition agreement. Felix-Max Richard appealed the decision but felt he needed a back-up plan if his appeal was denied. On May 28, 1895, the court denied the appeal and Gustave Eiffel bought the Comptoir with three other men: Joseph Vallot, Alfred Besnier, and Leon Gaumont, who was thirty years his junior. The company was renamed L. Gaumont et Cie after its youngest partner because Eiffel did not want his name on the company. Leon Gaumont was manager and Eiffel was president from 1895 through 1906. The company went public in January 1907 and is one of the oldest motion picture companies in the world.
During those years, Eiffel guided the company, contributed to its capital investments and inventions, and was absorbed by the new technologies and decisions the company made in its first eleven years. In 1897, he collaborated with Louis-Paul Cailletet and Leon Gaumont on a motion picture camera that was installed in a hot-air balloon. According to the correspondence between Gaumont and Eiffel, Eiffel had dark rooms at his Beauleau-Sur-Mer and Vevey vacation homes where he experimented with chemical developers. He patented a photographic heliograph in 1907.
Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on December 15, 1832. Interested in construction at an early age, he attended the École Polytechnique and later the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures (College of Art and Manufacturing) in Paris, from which he graduated in 1855. Setting out on his career, Eiffel specialized in metal construction, most notably bridges. He worked on several over the next few decades, letting mathematics find ways to build lighter, stronger structures.
1. Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)- Gustave Eiffel designed and oversaw construction of the Eiffel Tower. Eiffel is most famous for what would become known as the Eiffel Tower, which was begun in 1887 for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. The tower is composed of 12,000 different components and 2,500,000 rivets, all designed and assembled to handle wind pressure. The structure is a marvel in material economy, which Eiffel perfected in his years of building bridges—if it were melted down, the tower’s metal would only fill up its base about two and a half inches deep. Onlookers were both awed that Eiffel could build the world’s tallest structure (at 984 feet) in just two years and torn by the tower’s unique design, most deriding it as hideously modern and useless. Despite the tower’s immediate draw as a tourist attraction, only years later did critics and Parisians begin to view the structure as a work of art. The tower also directed Eiffel’s interest to the field of aerodynamics, and he used the structure for several experiments and built the first aerodynamic laboratory at its base, later moving the lab to the outskirts of Paris. The lab included a wind tunnel, and Eiffel’s work there influenced some of the first aviators, including the Wright Brothers. Eiffel went on to write several books on aerodynamics, most notably Resistance of the Air and Aviation, first published in 1907.
2. Eiffel Bridge or Iron Bridge (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)- is a pedestrian bridge in Skenderija. Before the New Year’s Eve, it is always glittered with the light decorations of the “starry sky” and with its vault of light, it becomes the most romantic place in Sarajevo. Somewhere around the site of today’s bridge is the Ottoman Order of Skender Pasha, whereby a whole end on the left bank of the Miljacka carries the name Skenderija, raised the wooden cellar at the end of the 15th or early 16th century. The river Miljacka often referred to Sarajevo’s wooden cranes, so it was with Skenderija bridge. The Austro-Hungarian administration ended this way and regulated the flow of Miljacka and re-constructed numerous bridges, including 1893 and the ironing bridge Skenderija.
There is an oath in Sarajevo, which does not have a certificate or a written document, that this bridge was designed by famous Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.
During the last war the bridge was heavily damaged and last time reconstructed in 2004.
3. Statue of Liberty (New York)- put his engineering stamp on the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, earning him the nickname ‘magician of iron.’ As his career advanced, Eiffel moved away from bridge work, such as in 1879 when he created the dome for the astronomical observatory in Nice, France, notable in that the dome was movable. That same year, when the Statue of Liberty’s initial internal engineer, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, unexpectedly died, Eiffel was hired to replace him on the project. He created a new support system for the statue that would rely on a skeletal structure instead of weight to support the copper skin. Eiffel and his team built the statue from the ground up and then dismantled it for its journey to New York Harbor.The Statue of Liberty stands against the Manhattan and a blue sky.
4. Garabit Viaduct- In 1882, Eiffel began work on the Garabit viaduct, which was, at the time, the highest bridge in the world. The Garabit Viaduct (Viaduc de Garabit in French) is a railway arch bridge spanning the Truyère, near Ruynes-en-Margeride, Cantal, France, in the mountainous Massif Central region.The bridge was constructed between 1882 and 1884 by Gustave Eiffel, with structural engineering by Maurice Koechlin,and was opened in 1885. It is 565 m (1,854 ft) in length and has a principal arch of 165 m (541 ft) span. Opening with a single track in November 1885, the Garabit Viaduct was 565 m (1,854 ft) long and weighed 3,587 tonnes (3,530 long tons; 3,954 short tons). Even more impressively, the actual deflection (load displacement) was measured at 8 millimetres (0.315 in), just what had been calculated by Eiffel. At 124 m (407 ft) above the river, the bridge was the world’s highest when it was built.The overall project cost was 3,100,000 francs. Until 11 September 2009, one regular passenger train each way passed daily over the viaduct: a Corail route from Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers. On that date, the viaduct closed after cracks were discovered in one of the foundation piles.After a safety inspection, the Garabit viaduct reopened the next month, with a speed limit of 10 km/h (6 mph) for all traffic In 1976, it was used to represent the condemned “Cassandra Crossing” bridge in the film The Cassandra Crossing.
In the film, the bridge is depicted as being unused and derelict for 30 or 40 years and is considered dangerous, to the extent that people living nearby moved away fearing it could collapse.
5. Ponte Eiffel- is a multi-level road–rail bridge over the River Lima. This bridge which was built in 1878. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel. It is located in Viana do Castelo District in Portugal.
6. Maria Pia Bridge- One of Eiffel’s first projects came in 1858, when he oversaw the building of an iron bridge at Bordeaux, and by 1866 Eiffel had set up his own company. By the time he designed the arched Gallery of Machines for the Paris Exhibition of 1867, his reputation was solidified. In 1876, he designed the 525-foot steel-arched Ponte Maria Pia Bridge over the Douro River in Oporto, Portugal, which was completed the following year. The bridge over the Douro came about as the result of a competition held by the Royal Portuguese Railroad Company. The task was a demanding one: the river was fast-flowing, up to 20 m (66 ft) deep, and had a bed formed of a deep layer of gravel which made the construction of piers on the river bed impossible, and so the bridge had to have a central span of 160 m (520 ft). This was greater than the longest arch span which had been built at the time. Eiffel’s proposal was for a bridge whose deck was supported by five iron piers, with the abutments of the pair on the river bank also bearing a central supporting arch.
The price quoted by Eiffel was FF.965,000, far below the nearest competitor and so he was given the job, although since his company was less experienced than his rivals the Portuguese authorities appointed a committee to report on Eiffel et Cie’s suitability. The members included Jean-Baptiste Krantz, Henri Dion and Léon Molinos, both of whom had known Eiffel for a long time: their report was favorable, and Eiffel got the job. On-site work began in January 1876 and was complete by the end of October 1877: the bridge was ceremonially opened by King Luis I and Queen Maria Pia, after whom the bridge was named, on 4 November.Working from the same design nearly 20 years later, he built the renowned 540-foot Garabit viaduct in Truyère, France. Suspended 400 feet above the surface of the water, it was the highest bridge in the world for years after its construction. Maria Pia Bridge considered one of the Top 10 bridges by The Guardian.
7. The Paradis Latin (www.paradislatin.com , http://www.theatreinparis.com , http://www.laforchette.com )- is a theater at number 28, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, in the Latin Quarter of Paris, in the fifth arrondissement, near Notre-Dame, the Panthéon, and the Tour d’Argent restaurant. The closest métro stations are Cardinal Lemoine and Jussieu.It is currently owned by businessman Walter Butler (French businessman). It was first built on the rue des Fosses-Saint-Victor in 1803 and called Théâtre Latin. It burned down in 1870, but was rebuilt on the rue du Cardinal Lemoine, as Paradis Latin in 1887–1889 by Gustave Eiffel. It was closed around 1900, but was rehabilitated, starting in 1973, and reopened, in 1977, as a cabaret. In 1995, the management was transferred to Sidney Israel and his son Harold.Since 2018, the cabaret is owned by French-American businessman Walter Butler (French businessman).In 2019, Iris Mittenaere, Miss Universe 2016, is the vedette (cabaret) of Kamel Ouali’s new revue at Paradis Latin. Address: 28 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris, France. Telephone: (+33) 1 43 25 28 28, Working hours: 19.30-23.30 every day.
8. The new terminus Nyugati Railway Terminal (Budapest, Hungary)-in 1875, Eiffel’s company „Eiffel et Cie“ were given two important contracts, one for a new terminus for the line from Vienna to Budapest and the other for a bridge over the river Douro in Portugal. The station in Budapest was an innovative design. The usual pattern for building a railway terminus was to conceal the metal structure behind an elaborate facade: Eiffel’s design for Budapest used the metal structure as the centerpiece of the building, flanked on either side by conventional stone and brick-clad structures housing administrative offices.
Gustave Eiffel’s approved and finished works:
Buildings and structures
• Railway station at Toulouse, France (1862)
• Railway station at Agen, France.
• Church of Notre Dame des Champs, Paris (1867)
• Performing Artes Center Lía Bermúdez, Maracaibo, Venezuela (1886)
• Synagogue in Rue de Pasarelles, Paris (1867)
• Théâtre les Folies, Paris (1868)
• Gasworks, La Paz, Bolivia (1873)
• Gasworks, Tacna, Peru (1873)
• Church of San Marcos, Arica, Chile (1875)
• Cathedral of San Pedro de Tacna, Peru (1875)
• Lycée Carnot, Paris (1876)
• Budapest-Nyugati Pályaudvar (Western railway station), Budapest, Hungary (1877)
• Ornamental Fountain of the Three Graces, Moquegua, Peru (1877)
• Ruhnu Lighthouse at Ruhnu island, Estonia (1877)
• Grand Hotel Traian, Iași, Romania (1882)
• Nice Observatory, Nice, France (1886)
• Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island, New York City, United States (1886)
• Colbert Bridge, Dieppe, France (1888)
• Eiffel Tower, Paris, France (1889)
• Paradis Latin theatre, Paris, France (1889)
• Jardín Juárez Gazebo, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México (1890)
• Casa de Fierro, Iquitos, Peru (1892)
• Estación Central (railway station), Santiago, Chile, (1897)
• Iglesia de Santa Bárbara in Santa Rosalía, Baja California Sur, Mexico (1897)
• lighthouse on Dzharylhach island, Kherson region, Ukraine (1902)
• Aérodynamique EIFFEL (wind tunnel), Paris (Auteuil), France (1911)
• The Market, Olhão, Portugal
• Palacio de Hierro, Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico
• Catedral de Santa María, Chiclayo, Peru (late 20th century)
• Condominio Acero, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
• Combier Distillery, Saumur (Loire Valley), France
• La Paz Train Station, La Paz, Bolivia (now La Paz Bus Station)
• Church in Coquimbo, Chile
• Fénix Theatre, Arequipa, Peru
• San Camilo Market, Arequipa, Peru
• Farol de São Thomé, Campos, Brazil
• Pabellon de la Rosa Piriápolis, Uruguay
• Mercado Municipal, Manaus, Brazil
• La Cristalera, old portuary storage, El Puerto de Santa María, Spain
• Clock Tower, Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
Bridges and viaducts
• Railway bridge over the river Garonne, Bordeaux (1861)
• Viaduct over the river Sioule (1867)
• Viaduct at Neuvial (1867)
• Swing bridge at Dieppe (1870)
• Pont de Ferro or Pont Eiffel in Girona, Spain. (1876)
• Maria Pia Bridge (Douro Viaduct) (1877)
• Cubzac bridge over the Dordogne River, France (1880)
• Borjomi bridge over the Tsemistskali River, Georgia (1902)
• Road bridge over the river Tisza near Szeged, Hungary (1881)
• Garabit Viaduct, France (1884)
• Imbaba Bridge over the Nile river, Cairo, Egypt (1892)
• The Eiffel Bridge in Zrenjanin (1904) (dismantled in the 1960s and currently being rebuilt.)
• The road (D50) bridge over the River Lay at Lavaud in the Vendée, France
• Birsbrücke, Münchenstein, Switzerland which collapsed on 14 June 1891 killing over 70 people. See Munchenstein rail disaster.
• Bridge over the Schelde in Temse, Belgium
• Souleuvre Viaduct (1893) (bridge spans removed but piers survive)
• The Eiffel Bridge in Viana do Castelo’s Marina (1878)
• The Railway Bridge over the Coura river in Caminha, Portugal.
• Eiffel Bridge in Ungheni, between Moldova and Romania (1877)
• Great bridge over the Begej in Zrenjanin, Serbia, built in 1904, dismantled and replaced by concrete bridge in 1969
• Eiffel or Iron Bridge on Skenderija Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (built in 1893)- also known as Skenderija Bridge, spans the Miljacka river.
• Ghenh Bridge and Rach Cat Bridge in Bien Hoa city, Đồng Nai Province, Vietnam.
• Trường Tiền Bridge in Huế city, Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, Vietnam.
• Bolívar Bridge, at Arequipa, Peru
• Puente Ferroviario Banco de Arena Railway Bridge near Constitución, Chile
• Puente Libertador, San Cristóbal, Venezuela.
• The Railway Bridge in Przemyśl, Poland
Not proven works
• Basilica of San Sebastian, Manila, Philippines (1891)
• Bridge over the Cuyuni River, southern Venezuela
• Santa Efigênia Viaduct, São Paulo, Brazil (1913)
• Santa Justa Lift (Carmo Lift), in Lisbon, Portugal (1901)
• Dam on Great Bačka Canal, Bečej, Vojvodina, Serbia (1900)
• Malleco Viaduct, Chile (1890)
• The Chateau de Villersexel, France (c. 1871)
• “Vuelta al Mundo”, Córdoba, Argentina
• Watermill, Dolores, Córdoba, Argentina
• Casa del Cura (also called Casa Eiffel), in Ulea, Spain (1912)
• Palácio de Ferro (Iron Palace), Angola
• Mercado 2 de Abril, Mexico City
An interesting facts about Gustave Eiffel:
1. Eiffel entered a project „Trinity Bridge (Saint Petersburg, Russia) into the contest, but his project was not realized.
2. Gustave Eiffel went on to do important work in meteorology and aerodynamics. Eiffel’s interest in these areas was a consequence of the problems he had encountered with the effects of wind forces on the structures he had built. He turned his interest to meteorology in his final years, studying the subject at length before his death on December 27, 1923, while listening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Second movement Andante, in his mansion on Rue Rabelais in Paris, France. He was buried in the family tomb in Levallois-Perret Cemetery (Cimetière de Levallois-Pierret). The vault is facing towards The Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel’s work is in danger
A number of works of Gustave Eiffel are in danger today. Some have already been destroyed, as in Vietnam. A proposal to demolish the railway bridge of Bordeaux (also known as the “passerelle St Jean”), the first major work of Gustave Eiffel, resulted in a large response from the public. Actions to protect the bridge were taken as early as 2002 by the “Association of the Descendants of Gustave Eiffel”, joined from 2005 onwards by the Association “Sauvons la Passerelle Eiffel” (“Save the Eiffel Bridge”). They led, in 2010, to the decision to list Eiffel’s Bordeaux bridge as a French Historical Monument.
Gustave Eiffel’s famous quotes:
“I ought to be jealous of the tower. It is more famous than I am.”
“Can one think that because we are engineers, beauty does not preoccupy us or that we do not try to build beautiful, as well as solid and long lasting structures? Aren’t the genuine functions of strength always in keeping with unwritten conditions of harmony?”
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