“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Detroit in Wayne County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Ransom Eli Olds

Ransom Eli Olds Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, July 22, 2021
1. Ransom Eli Olds Marker
Inscription.  In Lansing, on August 21, 1897, Ransom E. Olds (1864-1950) founded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, the precursor to Oldsmobile. He produced four vehicles that year. In 1899, Olds relocated to Detroit, opening the Olds Motor Works on West Jefferson Avenue near the MacArthur Bridge. In 1901, he built 425 gasoline-powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile Runabouts, driving them on Belle Isle prior to sale. Mounds of dirt excavated during canal construction on the island provided perfect "hills" for drivers who tested the mettle of early automobiles. Runabouts were the first cars to carry the Oldsmobile name.
Erected 1997 by Michigan Historical Center, Michigan Department of State. (Marker Number S658.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1897.
Location. 42° 20.235′ N, 82° 59.592′ W. Marker is in Detroit, Michigan, in Wayne County. Marker is at the intersection
Ransom Eli Olds Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, July 23, 2017
2. Ransom Eli Olds Marker
View looking to the east toward Picnic Way.
Click or scan to see
this page online
of Central Avenue and Picnic Way, on the right when traveling east on Central Avenue. Marker is on Belle Isle. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Detroit MI 48207, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gen. O. M. Poe Post No. 433 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Grand Army of the Republic (about 400 feet away); Detroit Spanish American War Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Japanese Cherry Trees (approx. 0.4 miles away); Major General Alpheus Starkey Williams (approx. 0.4 miles away); Police Radio Dispatch (approx. 0.4 miles away); Perry's Victory (approx. 0.4 miles away); War of 1812 Cannons (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Detroit.
Additional commentary.
1. Ransom Eli Olds
American inventor and automotive pioneer, best known as the founder of the car company that became Oldsmobile Motor Division of General Motors Corporation (GM). He was born Ransom Eli Olds on June 3, 1864, in Geneva, Ohio, the younger of two sons of Pliny Fisk Olds and Sarah Whipple Olds. In 1895, Ransom became his father’s partner at his auto shop in Lansing, MI. there they developed an internal combustion engine that he incorporated into the car. In 1897, he opened the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, replacing his father’s shop, and the Olds Gasoline Engine Works. In 1899, olds moved to Detroit, MI, formed the Olds
1 Cyl. Curved Dash Oldsmobile, 1905 image. Click for full size.
Grogan Photo Company (Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
3. 1 Cyl. Curved Dash Oldsmobile, 1905
Photo showing the model of automobile pictured on the marker.
Motor Works and designed and produced the popular Oldsmobile. With its low price, easy assembly and stylish curved dashboard, this was the first car to be produced in quantity. In order to keep up with the increasing demand for those newfangled contraptions, horseless carriages, Olds created the assembly line in 1901. The new approach to putting together automobiles enabled him to more that quadruple his factory’s output. (425 in 1901 to 2,500 in 1902). In 1904, Olds quit to form REO Motor Car Company and organized subsidiary companies to supply him with parts. He was a rare individual who tried and successfully created all means of propulsion, steam, electric, and gasoline. During the very early days of the infant auto industry, he conceptualized and the highest volume automobile producer when the others were selling their vehicles in paltry volumes.
    — Submitted October 24, 2012, by Tashiana Windmon of Benton Harbor, Bh.
Ransom Eli Olds Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Al Barrera, December 11, 2008
4. Ransom Eli Olds Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on August 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 11, 2008, by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan. This page has been viewed 1,483 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 22, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan.   2. submitted on August 1, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.   3. submitted on August 23, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.   4. submitted on December 11, 2008, by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Aug. 9, 2022