March 29, 1998

Michelin Mascot Is 100

The Dallas Morning News

Michelin, the company that invented the rubber automobile tire and created a series of great maps, is celebrating the 100th birthday of its corporate mascot.

The inflated corporate symbol was first depicted in an 1898 advertisement, where it offered a toast with broken nails and glass. The Michelin tire, consumers were told, “drinks up obstacles.” The character, who is supposed to resemble a pile of tires, came to be known as Bibendum, the Latin verb for drinking, or Bib for short.

European travelers soon began to rely on Michelin as much for its maps and guides as its tires. In 1926, the company adopted the widely copied star system for rating hotels and restaurants. By the ‘40s, its maps were considered so reliable the company reprinted its Red Guide for France for Allied troops to use during the invasion of Normandy.

Michelin maps and guides are available in the United States, but, for the full range of products and Bib collectibles, travelers can visit the Michelin Boutique, 32 Avenue de l’Opera in Paris. Visitors can even map driving routes on a computer and print out the directions.

Details and other Michelin trivia can be found on the Internet at

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