In the year 1946, twenty-four-year-old youth K. M. Mammen Mappillai started a small work of making children’s toys and balloons in rented small shed in the place called Thiruvottiyur in the then Madras (present-day Chennai). By that time, today’s instruments had not even developed. Just by installing a small unit, he used to prepare their own products and then they would go out to sell their own balloons in the market. Who will believe that the same small unit of that time is flagging its success in the whole world today?
In the name of Madras Manufacturing Company, the first office on Thambu Chetty Street in Madras opened in 1949.
Starting with small work of making balloons, the first machine was installed in 1952. After this, due to their product quality, the name of the Madras Rubber Factory Company (MRF) in 1956 became the identity of the rubber market and its share in the Indian market reached 50 percent. In the year 1960, it was registered as a Private Limited Company and again, this year it stepped into the field of tire production and it was a trading agreement with American company Mansfield.
K. M. Mammen Mappillai became the CMD of the company in 1973 and from this year, nylon tires were introduced in the Indian market. During the liberalization period, the company faced many kinds of troubles. After all, the challenge of many multinational companies like Goodyear, Bridgestone and Michelin was not a small issue.
In the same period, the company established the MRF Pace Foundation to bring fast bowling to Indian cricket. In 1989, the company’s deal was with Hasbro International of America, which was the world’s largest company. For his contribution to the industry, the Indian government also honored him with Padmashree in 1992. At that time, He was the first entrepreneur to receive this honor from South India.
Today the company exports tires to 65 countries of the world, which includes many American, European, and Central Asian countries. This company has offices in Australia, and Dubai in addition to India. KM Menon Mappillai died in 2003, but the work done by him today is the source of inspiration for many entrepreneurs.