While most are very familiar with the rotund and happy character known as the Michelin Man — giver of stars to restaurants, tire spokesperson — few know about his murky origins. This week, Fast Company divulged all of the logo's longstanding secrets. Here is a list of the six most interesting things you didn't know about the Michelin Man.
1.) He was inspired by an actual pile of tires: Legend has it that when the Michelin brothers (who founded the tire company that later went on to award restaurants "worth a trip" with stars) attended the Lyon Universal Exposition of 1894, Edward saw a pile of tires and visualized arms and legs on it. Four years after this original inspiration, the logo was born.
2.) He was first drawn by a cartoonist: O'Galop, aka Marius Rossillon, is credited with the original sketch of the logo in 1898.
3.) His original name was Bibendum: O'Galop created the drawing of the logo on a rejected poster for a Munich brewery that read nunc est bibendum ("now it is time to drink" in Latin), and never removed the wording. Rumor has it that when the poster made its way to a race in Paris, driver Léon Théry, not knowing the translation of the phrase, shouted, "Voila Bibendum, vive Bibendum!"
4.) He was originally a scary looking blob: Early posters from the 1900's show a large and intimidating character with a cigar permanently affixed to his mouth. He had a reputation for being a "road drunkard."
5.) His white tire-inspired body is historically correct: Turns out tires used to be light-colored when automobiles were first created in the late 1800's.
6.) He is an Oscar winner: In 2010, the famous logo appeared in an Academy Award-winning short titled Logorama. The film featured two Michelin cops chasing down the one and only Ronald McDonald.