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This Michelin logo is a funny tire man known to all motorists. She managed to introduce many innovative ideas, including at least replaceable and radial tires.
In fact, Michelin is a family business. And so in 1886, the factory was headed by 33-year-old Andre Michelin, who returned to his native Clermont-Ferrand from Paris.
It is worth noting that Andre had extraordinary talents. He graduated from another of the best technical educational institutions in France, Ecole Central. In addition, the engineer also managed to get the education of an architect. Together with Andre, his younger brother Eduard soon began to work, who graduated from the Academy of Arts. In 1888, the factory was on the mend and it was renamed Compagnie Générale des Établissements Michelin. From that year, the official report of the world's most famous tire company began.
Initially, the plant produced a fairly large assortment. It included Silent brake pads, various valves, gas pipes, belts, water pipes. Towards the end of the 19th century, the company turned its attention to such new transport as the bicycle. Then he was just becoming popular. And in bicycles, usually non-removable tires were simply glued to the rim. Michelin revolutionized this business with the world's first removable tires.
And the company became famous after the cyclist Charles Terron won the famous Paris-Brest-Paris race. He was at the wheel of a bicycle equipped with Michelin tires. Later, a historic race took place, when many nails were scattered on the Paris - Clermont-Ferrand section. The winners were fitted with Michelin detachable tires, which made the cyclists enthusiastic about the company.
But this success did not force the company to switch entirely to tire production alone. At the end of the 19th century, Michelin even introduced the Éclair wagon, which could move without the help of horse traction. It was a kind of car prototype. And this cart was equipped with pneumatic tires, invented by John Dunlop. In 1894, the first automobile race took place. It was organized by the French journalist Pierre Giffard.
Of course, then there was no need to talk about speeds - the spectacle was a little like modern races. Cars accelerated to only 21 km / h, which was not much faster than a bicycle. But that race made it clear to the Michelin brothers what kind of transport is the future. They began to seriously engage in the production of tires for cars. And the best advertising for the product was the rally, which eventually turned into a race.
And there is a beautiful legend about how one of the most wonderful logos was born. Once, Edouard Michelin at one of the exhibitions saw a bunch of tires stacked on top of each other. It is not surprising that, having received the education of an artist, he immediately completed his arms, legs and head in his imagination. Edward decided that a good man logo could be made from a pile of tires. The Michelin brothers immediately turned to the famous cartoonist O'Gallar. It was he who created the first version of Bibendum. Only he didn't actually draw the little man, he just had a finished work, which one brewer refused.
But Michelin will like the logo. This explains the fact that in the first emblems Bibendum is depicted next to a beer mug. This was explained by the presence of nails in it, which the character could easily swallow. It was believed that Michelin tires could just as easily overcome all obstacles. The association turned out to be twofold, because it turned out that driving a car was associated with alcohol. That is why, over time, the beer mug disappeared from the logo. And Bibendum himself became a truly legendary hero who smiled at drivers from gas stations, race tracks, and pages of motoring magazines.
But for some time at the end of the 19th century, the company continued to supply tires for bicycles and fiacre. But Michelin themselves understood that in the near future these vehicles would disappear into oblivion. Prospects were seen precisely in the car, the emphasis was on the development of pneumatic tires for it.
True, numerous car races have shown that the company's products are not yet ready for full use. Cars with Michelin tires were invariably among the outsiders. It seemed that disaster was inevitable. But the brothers themselves began to actively post ads throughout the country, in which it was reported that in 10 years, cars would begin to use inflatable tires. Michelin was wrong - it happened within 5 years. At the very end of the 19th century, the company's turnover was 6 million francs. It could be argued that the pioneering family business has grown into a large global enterprise.
The next stage of fame came to Michelin largely due to a thoughtful advertising campaign, in which the image of the famous Bibendum was often played up. O'Gallop continued to draw. In his work, the artist usually paid attention to such topics as the technical perfection of the company's tires, cartoons of famous historical characters portrayed by Bibendum, car races and advertising with a social connotation. In total, O'Gallop created about three hundred drawings for Michelin. In 1906 the first factory of the company was opened in France, its logo became famous all over the world. This was facilitated by the opening of Michelin factories in America a couple of years later.
At the beginning of the last century, largely thanks to Michelin, car travel began to popularize. The tire manufacturer has even released its yellow Michelin Guide especially for those who like such trips. This catalog describes all the most famous restaurants, hotels, gas stations and other places useful for motorists. Due to the fact that there were few cars, the demand for such a publication was low. That is why the company distributed the guide for free. But over time, the situation changed rapidly and the guide began to sell well.
And in 1906, the company became even more involved in the world of travel. A special travel agency was organized to help motorists plan their routes. And in the middle of the XX century, the company has already released the "Red Guide" in Europe. It contained the best hotels and restaurants in Europe, according to experts. At the same time, the Michelin specialists who compiled this publication went down in history due to their incorruptibility.
The restaurateurs and hoteliers themselves were never informed in advance when an expert from Michelin would arrive. All of these events were conducted anonymously. A strict selection was carried out in the catalog, so an institution with poor quality of service simply could not be included in the list. Bibendum himself sometimes appeared in the guide, albeit unobtrusively.
Obviously, the Michelin brothers have had a big impact on the advertising world. And it's not just about creating such a popular character and popularizing your product for a couple of related services. In 1901, the company became the first to buy pages of printed publications for advertising at its own discretion. These ads soon became very popular. After all, the company intrigued and delighted readers with the adventures of its hero Bibendum. He told, not without humor, what was happening in the world of tire production. At the same time, various catalogs and brochures began to be issued behind the magazines, which began to be distributed throughout Europe.
Michelin was actively pursuing the continental market. Only England did not give up for a long time - there the local government supported the national producer Dunlop. But soon the charming Bibendum fell in love with the British too. Serious companies at Michelin appeared only during the world wars, but this was typical of the entire European industry. After the end of hostilities, the company surprised the whole world with a new product - Michelin X tires.
A completely new technology was used to develop these tires. It allowed the product to last twice as long as previous models. This is how the radial tire was born. In those days, Michelin's only problem was that the company simply could not keep up with consumer demand. This went on for more than ten years, during which the company only managed to build new plants. From 1934 to 1976, the company even owned such a renowned car manufacturer as Citroën.
The history of Michelin is the history of one of the world's most famous tire manufacturers for cars, bicycles and even aircraft. Thanks to its innovative developments, the company has done a lot for technical progress. Of particular note is the creation of a popular advertising character that has been a symbol of the brand for more than a hundred years.
The only place where the company failed to prove itself was Formula 1. Other kings rule there - Bridgestone and Good-Year. Michelin, on the other hand, even left the royal motorsport at one time, disappointed in the results. But in other types of car competitions, French tire workers participate not without success, in the same "24 Hours of Le Mans". The company even holds its own competition among electric vehicles.