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Ransom E. Olds


After successful experiments with steam vehicles as early as 1886, Ransom E. Olds completed his first gasoline powered vehicle in 1894. Encouraged by the interest shown in his vehicle, Olds organized Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897. This first endeavor was not successful, but the company was reorganized in 1899 as the Olds Motor Works. In 1901 Olds developed his famous “curved dash runabout” priced at $650, making it the first really low-priced car. After a 1901 fire destroyed the Detroit plant, the company moved to its Lansing location. Two years later Olds sold his interest in the Olds Motor Works, later the Olds Division of General Motors, and organized the Reo Motor Car Company. Seemingly not content with founding an industry, Olds continued his experiments with the internal combustion engine, contributing, among other things, the first practical power mower.

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