Posted on May 29, 2012

The History of the Michelin Man

First created by the imaginative Michelin brothers and the talented poster artist O'Galop, alias Marius Rossillion, the Michelin Man was immediately a great success. The Michelin Man has evolved since his birth in 1898, becoming a modern, socially responsible icon - similar to the way Michelin, as a company, has evolved to outfit vehicles and meet the changing needs of consumers while maintaining its position as the leader in tire innovation and technology for over a century.

Shaped by the Brush

In 1898, while looking at an advertising sketch for a brasserie drawn by O'Galop, Andre Michelin had an idea: why not replace the bearded giant raising his beer mug with a man made of a pile of tires and holding a cup filled with nails and broken glass. The Latin quotation from Horace, "Nunc est Bibendum" ("Now it is time to drink") proclaimed by the character was also reused by Michelin: "Cheers, the Michelin tire drinks up obstacles!" This slogan had been launched by Andre Michelin a few years prior to convince engineers of the benefits of tires.

An Evocative Pile of Tires

At the Lyon Universal Exhibition in 1894, the Michelin brothers noticed an evocatively-shaped pile of tires on their stand. Edward said to Andre: "Look, with arms, it would make a man." Andre Michelin Would remember this moment a few years later.

He is made of 26 tires and has even shared his tires with stranded motorists. He has been an astronaut, a stunt driver, a tire inspector and a dancer, doing everything with a helpful spirit, confidence and good humor that has helped define him for generations.

About Michelin North America

Michelin, the leading mobility company, is dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility, sustainably; designing and distributing the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its clients’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve a variety of industries. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America ( has more than 21,400 employees and operates 19 major manufacturing plants. 

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