Today is the 190th anniversary of the birth of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.
Best known for his tower built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, the civil engineer made a name for himself early in his career designing railroad bridges and viaducts. He also contributed to the construction of the Statue of Liberty – he designed the internal support structure.
Even without the impressive Eiffel Tower, his contributions to engineering were significant, being one of the earliest monument builders to insist on allowances for wind and the forces of materials involved in the structure. Aerodynamics were just starting to be realized as significant elements in construction in the new Industrial Revolution.
The Eiffel Tower was the highest man-made structure when it was opened and held that distinction for over four decades.
Although the Eiffel Tower was initially ridiculed as blight on the Paris skyline, overpowering the beauty of its other cultural monuments, it has become an icon for the city and a must-see for any tourist there.
This comparative chart of the 79 tallest man-made structures is by Cram from 1891. Instead of redrawing the chart originally issued in 1883, Cram just added the Eiffel Tower into the upper right.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.