Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow



As the story goes…… “in 1889 two brothers, Édouard Michelin and André Michelin, ran a rubber factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France. One day, a cyclist whose pneumatic tire needed repair turned up at the factory. The tire was glued to the rim, and it took over three hours to remove and repair the tire, which then needed to be left overnight to dry. The next day, Édouard Michelin took the repaired bicycle into the factory yard to test. After only a few hundred metres, the tire failed. Despite the setback, Édouard was enthusiastic about the pneumatic tire, and he and his brother worked on creating their own version, one that did not need to be glued to the rim. Michelin was incorporated on 28 May 1889. In 1891 Michelin took out its first patent for a removable pneumatic tire which was used by Charles Terront to win the world’s first long distance cycle race, the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris” (read more here)

Thanks to persistence and hardwork (and creativity too), we now have a famous name in the world of tyres. As for the mascot shown…yes, his name is Bibendum…but we usually call him the Michelin Man :)

  1. sk says:

    Bibendum . First time hearing it, indeed .Through time, the image of Michelin man also changed. in the 1900′s , it was rounder & fatter whilst 2017 taller & slimmer .

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Speaking of tyres … they used to say that all roads lead to Rome, but this one begins there.

    Rome was engulfed in a civil war: on one side, Octavian; and on the other side, Antony and Cleopatra. Finally, at the Battle of Actium, Octavian won. Defeated, Cleopatra took her own life. When the news reached the poet Horace back in the capital, he celebrated with a new ode, which began thus: Nunc est bibendum, or “Now is the time for drinking!”

    For the next two thousand years the world carried on, subject to what one called a classical education.

    Then one day, a French cartoonist was commissioned to prepare some advertisements to run in a German magazine. Not knowing much German, he hit upon the idea of using Latin epigrams as captions. One of his drawings, advertising a beer, showed a portly figure raising a glass, with the caption taken from Horace’s ode. Considering it trite, the German editors rejected it and so there it lay, dormant in the cartoonist’s portfolio, until it was seen by André Michelin.

    “What if we turn the portly gent into a stack of tyres, fill his glass with obstacles found on the road, and have him drink up?” asked André, endearingly. Le pneu Michelin boit l’obstacle! And the rest, as they say, is history.

    So if you ever wondered why a tyre company would take the name of its mascot from, of all things, a drinking slogan, well, now you know.


    In Ipoh, by the way, even before the Great War, Michelin tyres were available at Wilson’s old shop (where Labrooy House now stands); and “Bibendum,” invariably shown smoking a cigar, was already well known to car-owners.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Above, discussing the Michelin agency in Ipoh, I mentioned “Wilson’s old shop,” located where Labrooy House now stands.

    I see that Wilson — or rather, the firm he started — is mentioned in the ipohWorld database.

    First, in item 2363:

    [Bob Brash was a] former member of the Federal Council and proprietor of G W Wilson & Co Ltd, Ipoh, Penang, Sungei Petani and a director of many mining companies.

    George Wilson started out on his own in Ipoh circa 1906. As the business grew, in 1914 he and Brash became partners. He died a year or two later; and not long afterwards Brash floated the company and became managing director.

    Wilson is also mentioned in database item 2041, which refers thus to a photograph:

    On the right is a shop of J. H. Saunders tailors and sports outfitters and in a ground floor window is a sign for G. M. Wilson and Company agents for Motor Union Assurance company Ltd. On the left are the premises of Aylesbury and Nutter Ltd.

    That should be G. W. Wilson & Co.

    When Wilson died, Brash took over the management of the business, moving it out of Court House Road and into the Belfield Street premises of his own firm, Brash & Smith (which he closed).


    Incidentally, the photograph shown in the database also appears on p. 265 of Ipoh, My Home Town, where it is dated “circa 1938.” Can I ask what led to this estimate?


    And speaking of Ipoh, My Home Town: it’s an excellent collection. I’m grateful to each contributor and, of course, to the editor. Thank you all.

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