André Michelin

Inducted 2002

1853 - 1931

Brothers André and Édouard Michelin revolutionized tire technology. André, the eldest of the brothers, was born in 1853 in Paris, France. His younger brother Édouard was born six years later in 1859 in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Both brothers had aspirations of embarking on their own careers. André was a renowned engineer and Édouard showed great promise as an artist. 

However, by the late 1880s, both brothers decided to return to Clermont-Ferrand to revive their grandfather’s failing agricultural equipment company. The company, Michelin et Cie, had been in business since 1832 selling farm implements as well as vulcanized rubber products and was on the brink of bankruptcy. André assumed control of the company and later asked Édouard to join him as managing director. The brothers renamed the firm Michelin and Co. Édouard oversaw manufacturing and research operations while André was responsible for management and sales. The brothers knew that to save the family company, they needed to diversify their business. However, neither one had the faintest idea where to start until they were approached by a cyclist in 1889. 

The cyclist had a flat tire, a very common occurrence given road conditions of the day and asked if the brothers could devise a better method to repair it. The common practice for mounting tires at the time was to glue them solidly to the rim. This made replacing them a lengthy ordeal that required special tools. Édouard believed there must be a better and faster way to attach a tire to a wheel and developed several prototypes and concepts. In 1891, he was granted a patent for a detachable-pneumatic tire. Michelin’s invention was a substantial improvement on 2005 AHF Inductee John Dunlop’s invention and became instantly popular. The brothers soon realized that even greater growth was possible by adapting their invention to automobiles. In 1895, the brothers entered the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris automobile race using their tires. They finished last, but the tires were so impressive that the race virtually launched the market for detachable-pneumatic automobile tires. 

The Michelin brothers soon became leading tire suppliers to the fledgling automotive industry, and even today Michelin is one of the largest and most respected tire suppliers in the world.

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André Michelin was born in Paris, France


Édouard was born in Clermont-Ferrand, France


The brothers took over their grandfather’s agricultural tool shop


Édouard produced a detachable pneumatic tire


The detachable tire was patented for use on both bicycles and automobiles


The brothers debuted their invention at the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris automobile race


André published his first red Guide Michelin, one of the first automobile travel guides


André published the first Michelin regional road maps


André passed away at the age of 78


Édouard passed away at the age of 81

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Class of 2002

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