Alexandre Gustave Eiffel “Man of Architecture and Perfection”
The Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate the 100th-anniversary of the French Revolution at the Centennial Exposition of 1889.
In 1910 Gustave Eiffel accomplished extraordinary outcomes in determining the wind resistance of a flat plate. He used the challenge of the Eiffel Tower as his test platform. Originally designed to be torn down easily at the end of the 1889 Exposition, the tower quickly became a national symbol of France and brought a sense of pride to the people who live there. It still stands today.
"Essentially, the structure of the Eiffel Tower could not have been more simple: four immense, tapering, curved, lattice-girder piers that meet asymptotically. These piers rise from an immensely broad square base—125 meters on a side—and are laced together at two levels by connecting girders to form an integral unity of great stability..." — Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p485.
In 1887, Eiffel became involved with the French effort to construct a Panama Canal. The French Panama Canal Company came to the realization that an elevated, lock-based canal was the appropriate design, and Eiffel was enlisted to design and build the locks. …However, his work was never realized, as the later American effort to build a canal used new lock designs.
The Industrial Revolution played an important role in Gustave Eiffel's life. People were traveling across the world, new technologies and materials became available, and countries were industrializing…. The condition that had the most impact on Eiffel's work was transportation. People around the world were demanding safe passages across rivers and were in need of bridges.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States. Eiffel's design for the interior structural elements of the statue allowed for the statue to become a reality.
He calculated how much load 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 is best known for the grand Eiffel Tower, a symbol of love, romance, and intellectual engineering French-style.
He calculated the distance between the 2,500,000 rivets in the tower to 0.10 mm, the wind pressures at all heights, and the curve of the base pylons so that the pulling and pushing of the wind was transformed into forces of compression at the base.
He was also the first person to think of putting a tunnel under the English Channel and an underground rail system underneath Paris.