Alexander Gustave Eiffel

1832 – 1923   Architect, Engineer, Scientist, Designer of the Eiffel Tower

Born in eastern France, Eiffel was not a brilliant student, but became interested in engineering and rapidly became a leading name in civil engineering. He helped pioneer the use of pneumatic caissons, using highly-compressed air to hold back water during construction of underwater fixtures such as bridge footings. His Maria Pia Bridge in Portugal was at the time the longest arch bridge in the world. Eiffel is however best known for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which was intended as a temporary structure for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. The tallest structure in the world when built, it proved so popular that it remains in place as a symbol of Paris and, indeed, of France itself. Eiffel also designed the unique iron framework over which the copper sheathing that forms the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour was fitted. Later in life, switching to research, he made significant discoveries in aviation and meteorology.

Lodge L’Émancipation, Paris


“I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.”