André Citroën, Le automobile industry (1878-1935, Year of Entry: 1898)

André Citroën joined École Polytechnique in 1898. A few years after his graduation from l’X, he cofounded Citroën Gears, dedicated to developing a new type of herringbone gears, which had been previously invented by a Polish craftsman. He was hired by Automobiles Mors and increased the initially struggling company’s production by ten within the space of six years. During the First World War, Citroën created a factory capable of manufacturing 55,000 artillery shells per day, after discovering the potential of assembly line work in the United States. Equipped with restaurants, leisure clubs and nurseries, his factory became a paradigm for French industrialists. André Citroën revolutionized production techniques with his automobiles and invented the front-wheel drive. In addition to his work at the factory, he also led projects on road marking, the modernization of Parisian taxis and the creation of intercity coach lines. On January 7, 1931, Citroën was conferred the rank of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.