Menu du Banquet Dunlop Post Card Early 1900s
This marvellous etching dated around the 1890s to early 1900s is entitled The Original Menu of Banquet Dunlop and is set in a French bar. A lavishly moustachioed barman is serving a bottle of champagne to two men.
The finely clothed French gentleman on the right asks his companion, sitting on a bar stool: ‘Well, don’t you drink any more?’ His companion – a wrinkled old Michelin Man in a casual raincoat and hat – replies: ‘No thanks. It’s too dry. It tastes American.’
We think this is a joke centred on the competition between these two great rubber tire companies in the 19th century.
Michelin Man, the symbol of the Michelin Tyre Company, was introduced at the Lyon Exhibition of 1894 in France.
Dunlop was founded in 1889 in Dublin, Ireland, and later grew into one of the first multi-national British companies, expanding into United States.
Michelin advertised its rubber goods – at the time the tires were mostly made for carriages and bicycles – with an amazing series of posters which showed the Michelin Man and his famous quote Nunc est Bibendum – Now Is the Time for Drinking.
Also on the poster were the words Le Pneu Michelin Boit L’obstacle – Michelin Tires Drink The Obstacle – this is roughly translated into: 'Michelin tires leave the competition in the dust.'
Still with us? We think this was a joke dreamed up by Dunlop to try to put the Michelin Man in his place.
It was printed on a postcard that could be used only in French territory, which at that time also extended to Algeria and Tunisia, and was probably used for marketing. You could say it was the first instance of one company trolling another.
If anyone has other thoughts on this gorgeous image and the meaning behind it, we’d be glad to hear. One of the joys of vintage menu art is putting together the story behind the image and we'd love other opinions on this.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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