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“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.
By Al Barrera, December 11, 2008
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 the 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.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 42° 20.235′ N, 82° 59.592′ W. Marker is in Detroit, Michigan, in Wayne County. Marker is at the intersection of Central Avenue and Picnic Way, on the right when traveling east on Central Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is on Belle Isle. Marker is in this post office area: Detroit MI 48207, United States of America.
 
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,
Ransom Eli Olds Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, July 23, 2017
2. Ransom Eli Olds Marker
View looking to the east toward Picnic Way.
measured in a direct line); Grand Army of the Republic (about 400 feet away); Detroit Spanish American War Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Alpheus S. Williams (approx. 0.3 miles away); Police Radio Dispatch (approx. 0.4 miles away); S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald (approx. 0.4 miles away); Perry's Victory (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Siege of Detroit 1763 (approx. 0.9 miles away in Canada). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Detroit.
 
Additional comments.
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 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.

 
Categories. 20th CenturyIndustry & CommerceNotable PlacesRoads & Vehicles
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 11, 2008, by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan. This page has been viewed 1,241 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on December 11, 2008, by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan.   2. submitted on August 1, 2017, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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