illustration: Michelin North America Inc.
Promoting tires since 1898, Bibendum, aka the Michelin Man, was born in 1894 at the Universal and Colonial Exhibition in Lyon, France. Eyeing two pillars of tires stacked in front of his tire company's booth, Edouard Michelin, depicted in this 1890s cartoon, suggested, "Give it some arms and legs, and it would look like a man." Within a few years, his idea developed into the mummy-like mascot we know today. Taken from a Latin phrase meaning "drinking to be done," Bibendum's name referred to the tires' ability to "drink up" any road obstacle, rather than a propensity to drive under the influence.