February 5: André Citroën, France’s answer to Henry Ford, was born on this date in 1878


André Citroën was already a successful gear maker — his double-helical sets were built into the Titanic — when in 1912 he visited Henry Ford's River Rouge plant in Dearborn, Mich.. The trip amazed the French engineer to such a degree that he spent much of the rest of his life recreating River Rouge, first for French armaments in World War I, and then for his own cars. The Citroën Type A that rolled from the factory in Paris in 1919 was the first affordable European car. The rest of the story lives at the Citroën Conservatory outside Paris: