Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (born Bönickhausen;15 December 1832 – 27 December 1923) was a French civil engineer and architect. A graduate of the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, he made his name with various bridges for the French railway network, most famously the Garabit viaduct. He is best known for the world-famous Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France. After his retirement from engineering, Eiffel concentrated his energies on research into meteorology and aerodynamics, making important contributions in both fields.
Eiffel was not a studious child, and thought his classes at the Lycée Royal in Dijon boring and a waste of time, although in his last two years, influenced by his teachers for history and literature, he began to study seriously, so that he managed to gain his baccalauréats in humanities and science. An important part in his education was played by his uncle, Jean-Baptiste Mollerat, who had invented a process for distilling vinegar and had a large chemical works near Dijon, and one of his uncle's friends, the chemist Michel Perret. Both men spent a lot of time with the young Eiffel, teaching him about everything from chemistry and mining to theology and philosophy.
Eiffel went on to attend the Collège Sainte-Barbe in Paris, in order to prepare for the difficult entrance exams set by the most important engineering colleges in France. Eiffel had hoped to enter the École Polytechnique, but his tutors decided that his performance was not good enough, and instead he qualified for entry to the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in Paris, which offered a rather more vocational training. During his second year he chose to specialize in chemistry, and graduated 13th of the 80 candidates in 1855.
After graduation, Eiffel had hoped to find work in his uncle's workshop in Dijon, but a family dispute made this impossible. After a few months working as an unpaid assistant to his brother-in-law, who managed a foundry, Eiffel approached the railway engineer Charles Nepveu, who gave Eiffel his first paid job as his private secretary. Eiffel's second job was with the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Ouest, for whom Eiffel produced his first bridge design, a 22 m (72 ft) sheet iron bridge for the Saint Germaine railway.
He, after many successful assignments, set up as an independent consulting engineer. He was already working independently on the construction of two railway stations, at Toulouse and Agen, and in 1866 he was given a contract to oversee the construction of 33 locomotives for the Egyptian government, a profitable but undemanding job in the course of which he visited Egypt, where he visited the Suez Canal which was being constructed by Ferdinand de Lesseps.
In 1881 Eiffel was contacted by Auguste Bartholdi who was in need of an engineer to help him to realise the Statue of Liberty. Some work had already been carried out by Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc, but he had died in 1879. Eiffel was selected because of his experience with wind stresses. Eiffel devised a structure consisting of a four legged pylon to support the copper sheeting which made up the body of the statue. The entire statue was erected at the Eiffel works in Paris before being dismantled and shipped to the United States.
In 1886 Eiffel also designed the dome for the Astronomical Observatory in Nice. This was the most important building in a complex designed by Charles Garnier, later among the most prominent critics of the Tower. The dome, with a diameter of 22.4 metres (73 ft), was the largest in the world when built and used an ingenious bearing device: rather than running on wheels or rollers, it was supported by a ring-shaped hollow girder floating in a circular trough containing a solution of magnesium chloride in water. This had been patented by Eiffel in 1881.
The design of the Eiffel Tower was originated by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who had discussed ideas for a centrepiece for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. Initially Eiffel showed little enthusiasm, although he did sanction further study of the project, and the two engineers then asked Stephen Sauvestre to add architectural embellishments. Sauvestre added the decorative arches to the base, a glass pavilion to the first level and the cupola at the top. The enhanced idea gained Eiffel's support for the project, and he bought the rights to the patent on the design which Koechlin, Nougier and Sauvestre had taken out. The estimated cost for construction was six and a half million francs.
The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010. The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building.
SOME INTERESTING POSTS!!!!!
The notoriously shy polymath described hydrogen as inflammable air & weighed the earth, but hardly published papers!!!