Eiffel, Gustave

BORN 15 Dec 1832, Dijon, Côte-d'Or - DIED 15 Dec 1923, Paris: Rue Rabelais
BIRTH NAME Eiffel, Alexandre Gustave
GRAVE LOCATION Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine: Cimetière (Division 10)

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was the son of Alexandre Bonickhausen, who adopted the name Eiffel in reference to the Eifel mountains. His parents ran a charcoal business that his mother had inherited until they sold it for a good price in 1843. Gustave studied at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures and specialised in chemistry. He worked for the railway engineer Charles Nepveu and in 1858 he built the 510 meters long Bordeaux railway bridge.

He became the principal engineer of the Compagnie Belge, but in 1866 he started his own workshop at Levallois-Perret near Paris. His company undertook projects both in France and abroad. In 1868 he formed Eifel and Cie with Théophile Seyrig (1843-1923). They designed the Budapest Nyugati railway station and the bridge over the Douro in Portugal. Eiffel designed several buildings for the The Exposition Universelle in 1878. In 1879 his partnership with Seyrig ended and his company became Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel.
In 1881 Bartholdi hired him to realise the Statue of Liberty after Eugène Viollet-le-Duc had died in 1879. The statue was erected at his works in Paris before is was shipped to the USA in pieces. In 1886 Eiffel designed the dome for the observatory in Nice. In 1884 Maurice Koechlin made a drawing for a tower that should be a centerpiece for the Exposition Universelle of 1889. Eiffel and others made propositions to build the tower and his proposal was selected. The work started on 28 January 1887 and on 31 March 1889 was able to accompany government officials to the top of the tower.

In 1887 Eiffel had joined an effort to construct a canal in Panama. He worked for the French Panama Canal Company as a contractor, but the French Panama Canal Company went bankrupt and was liquidated. Eiffel was to stand trial and resigned from the board of the Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel. He was convicted for the misuse of funds and sentenced to two years in prison. On appeal he was aquitted.

Eiffel now concentrated on meteorology and aerodynamics. In 1909 he constructed his first wind tunnel at a laboratory on the Champs de Mars. In 1912 he moved his experiments to a location at Auteuil. In 1913 he was awarded the Samuel P. Langley Medal for Aerodromics by the Smithsonian Institution. He died in 1923 at his home in Paris.

Related persons
• cooperated with Bartholdi, Auguste


The grave of Gustave Eiffel at the Cimetière de Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine.
Picture by Androom (02 Nov 2022)


Gustave Eiffel - Wikipedia

Eijkman, Christiaan

Published: 31 Dec 2022
Last update: 31 Dec 2022