Gustave Eiffel

From Academic Kids

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Gustave Eiffel
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A monument to Gustave Eiffel at the base of the Eiffel Tower

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (December 15, 1832December 27, 1923; French pronunciation in IPA, in English usually pronounced in the German manner ) was a French engineer and entrepreneur, specialist of metallic structures. The name of Eiffel was adopted by one of his German ancestors in the early 18th century, taken from his birthplace Marmagen located in the Eifel, as the French could not pronounce his actual name of Bnickhausen.

Born in Dijon, Cte-d'Or, France, he is most famous for building the Eiffel Tower, built from 1887-1889 for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France. It is less well known that he designed the armature for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, USA. He gained his expertise in construction by designing ironwork for bridges.

He projected The Maria Pia Bridge in Porto city, Portugal. This railway bridge is a great piece of work with a double hinged arch that sustains the single lane railway plate through pillars to reinforce the whole of the bridge. The construction works began on 5 January 1876 and were concluded the following year on 31 October. The solemn inauguration ceremony took place on 4 November 1877 by the king D. Lus and the queen D.Maria Pia, after whom the bridge was named. This bridge was used for 114 years, until 1991, when the a new one (St. John Bridge) became active.

Gustave Eiffel also designed La Ruche in Paris, that would, like the Eiffel Tower, become a city landmark. A three-storey circular structure that looked more like a large beehive, it was created as a temporary structure for use as a wine rotunda at the Great Exposition of 1900. He constructed the Garabit viaduct, a railroad bridge near Ruynes en Margeride in the Cantal dpartement.

Eiffel's reputation suffered a severe setback when he was implicated in financial scandals round Ferdinand de Lesseps and the entrepreneurs backing the failed French Panama Canal project. Eiffel himself had no connection with the finances, and his guilty judgment was later reversed.

In his later years Eiffel began to study aerodynamics.

Eiffel died on December 27, 1923 in his mansion on Rue Rabelais in Paris and was interred in the Cimetire de Levallois-Perret, also in Paris.

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