The youngest of five children, André-Gustave Citroën was born in Paris on this day in 1878. He developed a passion for engineering as he watched the construction of the Eiffel Tower, leading him to study at École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France. During a visit to Warsaw in 1900 he witnessed a carpenter working on a set of gears. He purchased the gear patent and further developed it, leading to the invention of double helical gears, which are used in rear axles, transaxles, camshaft timing gears and other applications. In 1906, Citroën became director of Mors automobiles.
His success in the auto industry inspired him to found Citroën automobile company in 1919. Citroën would become the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the world by 1932. Following overspending in development of the Traction Avant model, the company declared bankruptcy and it was taken over by Michelin tire company in 1934. André-Gustave Citroën succumbed to stomach cancer the next year and is buried in Paris.
Cover: First mass produced Citroen, a 10 hp Type A