Famous Freemason - André-Gustave Citroën
André-Gustave Citroën was the fifth and last child of Jewish parents, diamond merchant Levie Citroën and Masza Amelia Kleinman. He was a cousin of the British philosopher Sir A. J. Ayer.
The Citroën family moved to Paris in 1873. Upon arrival, the French diaeresis was added to the Dutch surname (reputedly by one of André's teachers), changing Citroen to Citroën.
His father died by suicide when André was six years old (presumably after failure in a business venture in a diamond mine in South Africa). It is reputed that the young André Citroën was inspired by the works of Jules Verne and had seen the construction of the Eiffel Tower for the World Exhibition, making him want to become an engineer.
Citroën was a graduate of the École Polytechnique in 1900. In that year he visited Poland, the birthland of his mother, who had recently died. During that holiday, he saw a carpenter working on a set of gears with a fish bone structure. These gears were less noisy, and more efficient.
Citroën bought the patent for very little money, leading to the invention that is credited to Citroën: double helical gears. Also reputed to be the inspiration of the double chevron logo of the brand of Citroën. In 1908, he was installed as a chairman for the automotive company Mors.
During World War I, Citroën gained an international reputation during the war as the leading production expert in France. His activities were extensive in connection with the Renault plant, which employed 35,000 men in the manufacture of munitions during the war.
Citroën founded the Citroën automobile company in 1919, leading it to become the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the world by the beginning of the 1930s. The costs of developing the advanced front wheel drive unibody Traction Avant and redeveloping the factory to produce it at the same time, led to bankruptcy in 1934. It was taken over by the main creditor Michelin, who had provided tires for the cars.
Citroën died in Paris, France, of stomach cancer in 1935, and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, the funeral being led by the Chief Rabbi of Paris.
Bro. Citroën was a member of Lodge La Philosophie in Paris France.