Who Built the Eiffel Tower? The Infamous Gustave Eiffel!

Who Built the Eiffel Tower? The Infamous Gustave Eiffel!

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous structures on Earth which may make you wonder who built it? The story is much more elaborate than you’d think. The person behind the tower was involved in many other famous structures including one in New York Upper Bay.

Pro Travel Tip: Traveling to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower? Bookmark our article on the top 15 things to see at the Eiffel Tower in your browser. This way you can circle back to it while you are in Paris! Also, check out our Paris tours. We run small groups that enable you to interact with the guide and make your visit more memorable.

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel Facts

  • Birth Date : December 15, 1832
  • Death Date : December 27, 1923
  • Place of Birth : Dijon, France
  • Place of Death : Paris, France
  • Education : Centrale des Arts et Manufactures
  • Most famous works : Eiffel Tower, Bordeaux Bridge, and the Garabit Viaduct

Did you know? Eiffel was hired to replace the Statue of Liberty’s initial internal engineer who unexpectedly died. He created a new support system used to hold up the statue’s copper skin. Eiffel and his team built the statue from the ground up and then had to tear it down for its journey to New York Harbor.

Who was Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel?

Gustave Eiffel is perhaps the most well-known civil engineer of all time. If you may not know his first name but undoubtedly know his last name which is a ttached to his crowning achievement; the Eiffel Tower .

Gustave a lso did work on other important structure such as:

  • Garabit Viaduct
  • Bordeaux Bridge
  • Statue of Liberty’s steel framework.

But before he was known for the Tower, Eiffel was cutting his teeth as a civil engineer and student. Born December 15, 1832, in Dijon, France, Eiffel showed interest in construction at a very young age. He attended École Polytechnique as a young man and then later the prestigious Central Paris School of Arts and Manufacturing. Surprisingly, he studied chemistry in his post-graduate education!

After graduating in 1855, Eiffel found himself working under the tutelage of Charles Nepveu . Nepveu was an engineer who specialized in metal construction of steam-powered machines.

Eiffel excelled quickly in his new workplace and in 1857 he became Bureau Chief at Pauwels and Cie.

Guided Tours of the Eiffel Tower

Visiting the Eiffel Tower is more complicated than its history. Tickets are hard to acquire and the site itself can be confusing to navigate which is why guided tours are a great choice. Take a look at our Eiffel Tower tours. All of which include admission and some also include Seine River cruises!

Eiffel’s Early Successes Bordeaux Bridge at Night

One of Eiffel’s first projects came in 1858 when he oversaw the construction of an iron girder bridge at Bordeaux. At only 25 years old, Eiffel completed the Pont de Pierre and solidified himself as one of France’s premier engineers. This was particularly impressive due to his young age!

The Bordeaux Bridge measures more than 500 meters (1,600 feet) and connects the left bank of the Garonne River to the right bank. A marvel when it was finished, it is now one of the world’s most photographed bridges.

A year removed from the completion of Pont de Pierre, Eiffel set up his own company and started working on the arched Galerie des Machines (Gallery of Machines) for the Paris Exhibition of 1867.

Eiffel and the Industrial Revolution

Every renowned artist has their most prolific period and for the Eiffel Company, that time was during the 1870s and 80s. During the 10 year span, Eiffel was at his pinnacle and was actively recruited from cities around the world.

With each passing work, Eiffel’s designs became increasingly more complex and lauded.

In 1877, Eiffel and his team designed and finished the 545-foot-steel-arched Ponte Maria Pia Bridge over the Douro River in Oporto, Portugal.

From 1882 to 1884, Eiffel and structural engineer Maurice Koechlin worked on the renowned 540-foot Garabit Viaduct in Truyère, France. When it opened in 1885 the Garabit Viaduct was the highest bridge in the world.

This would be Gustave Eiffel’s last great bridgework, as he began moving onto other projects.

Gustave Eiffel Accomplishments: The Tower Inside the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly his most famous accomplishment for good reason. His other works are admired by engineers and come in handy for millions of unknowing frenchman.

While his other works are respected by fellow engineers and beloved by millions of tourists each year, Eiffel is most famous for his tower.

Construction of the Eiffel began in 1887 for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. Located on the Champ de Mars, the Eiffel Tower is composed of 12,000 different components and 2,500,000 rivets and stands 320 meters tall (1,050 feet). It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 41 years before being surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York.

Eiffel Tower Facts:

  • It was specifically designed for material economy. If the tower melted down, the metal would only fill up its base about two and a half inches deep.
  • It weighs approximately 10,000 tonnes
  • Around 50 tonnes of paint are added to the tower every 7 years
  • Since opening, the tower has welcomed over 250 million people
  • Almost 7 million visitors climb the tower each year
  • The tower was supposed to be torn down after 20 years
  • There’s a secret apartment at the top

Did you know? Gustave Eiffel didn’t design the tower he’s famous for. Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who worked for Eiffel were the original designers and teamed up with French architect Stephen Sauvestre to enter it into the World’s Fair competition.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gustave’s famous attraction, we wrote the Eiffel Tower Travel Guide and it includes the 10 things you should know before you travel to see it.

Tours of Paris

Are you looking up information on the Eiffel Tower because you are planning a visit? We love the Eiffel Tower and other cultural attractions so much that we made a career out of it! If you enjoyed our free information you’ll love our guided tours in Paris. The very people that write these articles also give tours of the city of lights!

Visiting the Eiffel Tower is more complicated than its history. Tickets are hard to acquire and the site itself can be confusing to navigate which is why guided tours are a great choice. Take a look at our Eiffel Tower tours. All of which include admission and some also include Seine River cruises!