Gustave Eiffel 100th Death Anniversary: Interesting FACTS About The Man Behind The Iconic Structure

Gustave Eiffel 100th Death Anniversary: Interesting FACTS About The Man Behind The Iconic Structure

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, widely known as Gustave Eiffel, was the first child of Catherine-Mélanie (née Moneuse) and Alexandre Bonickhausen dit Eiffel, born in France, in the Côte-d'Or.

Aditi ThakurUpdated: Thursday, December 28, 2023, 09:38 AM IST
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Gustave Eiffel designed and constructed the Eiffel Tower. It was built in between 1887-89. |

Gustave Eiffel is regarded as one of the most influential Frenchmen of the 19th and 20th centuries. Eiffel is widely recognised as a legend of his day, having presided over the construction of some of France's most majestic landmarks of that time. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, widely known as Gustave Eiffel, was the first child of Catherine-Mélanie (née Moneuse) and Alexandre Bonickhausen dit Eiffel, born in France, in the Côte-d'Or. 

The family initially held from the Eifel Mountains in the location, so they were honoured with the Eiffel name. In 1880, Gustave's name was formally changed to Eiffel; before that, it was registered at birth as Bonickhausen dit Eiffel. Here are some of the most fascinating facts about Gustave Eiffel.

1) Gustave Eiffel spent majority of his childhood with his grandmother

After Gustave's birth, his mother expanded her charcoal business, which she inherited from her parents, and his father also joined her. Due to the rising business demands, Gustave spent most of his childhood with his grandma. 

2) Eiffel led the construction of a railway bridge at Bordeaux's Garonne River

In 1857, Nepveu got a contract to build a railway bridge across the Garonne River at Bordeaux, connecting the Paris-Bordeaux line to lines serving Sète and Bayonne. The bridge work was new then; it was 500 metres (1,600 feet) long and supported on the river bed by six pairs of masonry piers. Also, compressed air caissons and hydraulic rams, both new at the time, were required for construction. Eiffel was initially charged with constructing the metalwork before taking over project management from Nepveu, who resigned in March 1860.

3) Compagnie Belge's principle engineer was Gustave Eiffel

After constructing a railway bridge across the Garonne in Bordeaux, Gustave Eiffel was appointed principal engineer of the Compagnie Belge. His work caught the attention of many others, notably Stanislas de la Roche Toulay, who created the metalwork for the Bordeaux bridge, Jean Baptiste Krantz, and Wilhelm Nordling.

4) France's most loved landmark, the Eiffel Tower, was conceptualised and built by Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel designed and constructed the Eiffel Tower. Also, the tower bears the architect's name. The tower was built between 1887 and 1889 for the city's hosting of the World Fair in 1889. Many intellectuals and critics in Paris City initially opposed the tower, believing it would be an unappealing structure. Despite much opposition, the tower is now the globe's most recognisable and loved landmark. The Eiffel Tower is the most visited and highly paid-for landmark globally. 

5) Gustave Eiffel made the Statue of Liberty's metalwork

After the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel built the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty was designed to symbolise friendship between the United States and France by the renowned French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and was constructed by Gustave Eiffel. The Statue of Liberty, which still stands near Ellis Island in New York, symbolises liberty and freedom in the US. Another symbol of friendship between the two countries is a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, which stands next to the one in New York.

Gustave Eiffel, the French civil engineer, lived a long life. Eiffel passed away in Paris on December 27, 1923, while listening to Beethoven's 5th Symphony. He was 93 when he died; it is believed he died due to natural causes; however, his death cause is still unknown. 

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