Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Michelin (full name: Manufacture Française des Pneumatiques Michelin, "French manufacturer of tyres Michelin"), based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, is primarily a tire manufacturer. It invented the radial tire design used by nearly all modern tires. Michelin also publishes a popular series of road maps and travel guides.
Founded on May 28, 1889, Michelin's activities date back to 1830 in the vulcanized rubber, then tyres for bicycles later for cars. Michelin owned the automobile manufacturer Citroën between 1934 and 1976.
In 1988, Michelin acquired the tire and rubber manufacturing divisions of the American B.F. Goodrich Company founded in 1870. Two years later, they bought out Uniroyal Inc., a business founded in 1892 as the U.S. Rubber Company .
The current CEO is Edouard Michelin .
The company identifies itself with the Michelin Man, which was introduced in 1898 and is one of the world's oldest trademarks. André Michelin apparently commissioned the creation of this jolly, rotund figure after his brother, Édouard , observed that a display of stacked tyres resembled a human form. Today the "Michelin Man" is one of the world's most recognized trademarks, representing Michelin in over 150 countries. The Michelin Man's real nickname is the Bibendum, from the Latin sentence Nunc est bibendum ("Now, we must drink it") used as a slogan by Michelin in the early 20th century: the tyres were supposed to "drink" the road and give a smooth ride.
- Tweel - a revolutionary tire that uses no air.
Travel assistance services
The Hotel and Restaurant guide ("Red Guide")
Founded by André Michelin, first published in 1900 a restaurant guide to help wealthy, gastronomically-oriented individuals choose hotels and restaurants while travelling by the new medium of the motor car. This guide is the oldest and best-known European hotel and restaurant guide. Its restaurant ratings (one to three Michelin stars) are probably the most famous and influential gastronomic ratings in the world. The guide lists, in several volumes, restaurants in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the UK. Each guide is generally only available in the language of the country for which it is published. Although hotels appear in the guide, including some without restaurants, it is generally perceived as a restaurant guide.
The Michelin Guide has historically had many more listings than its rival guides, relying on condensed summaries and symbols to describe each establishment in as little as two lines. Restaurants rated with a star were allowed to describe three signature dishes. Recently, however, very short summaries (2-3 lines) have been added for many establishments. It still manages to list a lot of places, e.g. 9000 in France.
The Red Guide uses anonymous inspections and does not charge for entries; conversely a majority of restaurant and hotel guides are little more than advertising opportunities for their clients.
The guide awards stars (1 to 3) to a small minority of restaurants of special gastronomical quality. Stars are awarded sparingly; for instance, in the UK and Ireland 2004 guide, out of 5500 entries, there are 98 with one star, 11 with two stars, and only 3 with three stars. Michelin stars are taken very seriously in the restaurant business, where the addition or loss of a star can mean a difference in turnover of millions of euros. Some three star restaurants are able to charge hundreds of euros for a meal on the strength of their reputation.
In February, 2003, a prominent French chef, Bernard Loiseau, committed suicide when his widely-admired restaurant Côte d'Or in Saulieu , Burgundy, was rumoured to be in danger of a downgrade by Michelin from three to two stars. However, most news reports attributed this suicide to a downgrade by the rival Gault Millau guide, the Michelin guide having stated he would not be downgraded.
Michelin publishes various series of road maps, mostly on France but also on some foreign countries.
Michelin also publishes the "Green Guides", on French regions as well as some foreign countries and regions, which contain general tourist information. Most Green Guides on France are available in several languages.
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