Andre Michelin, founder of Michelin Tire Company, was born on this day in 1853 in Paris, France. At the age of 33 he took over his grandfather’s farm and agricultural equipment business, that also dealt in rubber products. It was there that he encountered a cyclist that needed assistance with a flat tire. That interaction would inspire Andre and his brother Edouard to develop the first detachable pneumatic tire for bicycles, making changing a flat much easier. This event closely coincided with the founding of the tire company that bears the brothers’ name in 1889. These tires were used by Charles Terront to win the world’s first long distance cycle race, the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris.
After the brothers passed, Michelin Tire Company would continue to find success in the auto industry. One of the greatest tire achievements came from Michelin in 1946 when engineers at the company developed the radial tire. The tires were originally fitted to the front wheel drive Citroen Traction Avant.