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History of Andre Michelin



Go to:  The History of Michelin Stars | Main History Index Page | History of World Cuisines  

Creator of the Michelin Guides, it may surprise you to know that André Michelin was actually a French industrialist who, together with his brother Édouard, built up the then failing rubber company established in 1832 by their grandfather, the Michelin Tyre Co.

During the expansion process the company made the first pneumatic car tyres which could be easily removed for repair in 1895. As a forward thinking marketeer, André began thinking of ways to enhance and encourage motoring tourism and began working of a free “give-away” promotion aimed at the ever increasing number of motorists. After all, the more people who bought and used cars, driving longer distances, the more tyres his company would sell.

By 1900 the first Michelin Guide was being given away with every car sale. Initially for the French market, it listed a wealth of information for travellers by car in France including the whereabouts of petrol stations, information on repair garages, where to find parts supplies and where to find toilets, meals and accommodation which was especially aimed at touring motorists on holiday in France.

By 1920, the dining part had become so popular that Michelin set up a team of inspectors who would anonymously visit restaurants and rate them on a 3-category basis, now known as Michelin Stars.

Although André Michelin died in 1931, his legacy lived on, with guides being regularly updated and expanded to cover other countries. Today, Michelin Guides are known the world over, in particular for their information about local restaurants.

To read more about the history of the Michelin Star rating system and what they mean, click the link at the top of this page.

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