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Michelin

The brothers André and Edouard Michelin founded the company Michelin et Cie in 1889 in Clermont Ferrand where its headquarters is still located. In 1891, they developed the removable bicycle tire. That same year, a bicycle equipped with Michelin demountable tires won the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race. Since then, Michelin's long history has included many inventions and commercial successes.

In June 1895, André and Edouard Michelin drove the Eclair, the first car on tires, in the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race. Even if their participation did not end in a resounding victory, it was a great advance in the automobile industry.

The brand's image, the Michelin Man, was born in 1898. At the Universal Exhibition in Lyon (1894), a pile of tires marked the entrance to the stand. When Edouard Michelin saw it, he turned to his brother André and said, "Look, with arms, that would make a man! Some time later, the illustrator O'Galop came to show the Michelin brothers his advertising poster projects. It was an image refused by a brewery that caught their attention. It shows a handsome character brandishing a mug of beer and exclaiming "Nunc est bibendum!" (a motto borrowed from a verse of Horace that translates into "it's now that you must drink"). Thus the sketch of the Michelin advertisement was born in April 1898. The Michelin Man, made of tires, is holding a cup filled with broken glass and nails instead of a mug. The Latin phrase was retained but was accompanied by the slogan "The Michelin tire drinks the obstacle".

In addition to manufacturing tires, Michelin began publishing tourist guides, road maps and atlases. The first Michelin Guide, called the Red Guide, was published in 1900. Its objective was to help travelers visit a place by giving practical information (hotels, restaurants, etc.). André Michelin said: "This guide was born with the century and will last as long as it does Published the first year in 30,000 copies and distributed free of charge, today the guide sells more than 800,000 copies a year!

In 1906, the first Michelin factory was set up outside France, in Turin, followed shortly afterwards by a factory in the United States. In 1908, Michelin produced the first "twin" tire for heavy trucks. In 1910, Michelin began producing road signs and markers with four sides. In 1914, the company participated in the war effort and built some 2,000 aircraft equipped with Michelin tires.

Among the brand's many inventions are the railway tire (1929), the radial carcass that equips all contemporary tires (1946), the "green" tire that reduces fuel consumption, and the versatile summer/winter tire (2015).

In 1979, in association with the Ferrari team, the Michelin radial tire was the F1 world champion with the South African driver Jody Scheckter and his teammate Gilles Villeneuve. During Michelin's long history in the sport, the manufacturer has won 102 races in 215 Grand Prix. The last of these was Fernando Alonso's victory in the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix in a Renault car.

Today, Michelin is a multinational company and the world's second largest tire manufacturer after Bridgestone. It manufactures tires for all types of vehicles (cars, trucks, two-wheelers, airplanes, farm equipment, etc.) and employs more than 112,000 people at 68 sites in 17 countries.