Olds Motor Works founded - Aug 21, 1897 - HISTORY.com

Ransom Eli Olds of Lansing, Michigan, founds Olds Motors Works–which will later become Oldsmobile–on August 21, 1897.

Born in Geneva, Ohio, in 1864, Olds went to work for his family’s machine-repair and engine-building business in 1883. In 1896, Olds completed his first gasoline-powered vehicle, and the following year he founded Olds Motor Works with financial backing from Samuel L. Smith, who had made his fortune in lumber. After the company moved from Lansing to Detroit in 1900, a fire destroyed all of its cars except its small, one-cylinder curved-dash model. Light, reliable and relatively powerful, the curved-dash Oldsmobile (as Olds had renamed his company) became a commercial sensation after appearing at the New York Auto Show in 1901. Olds returned to Lansing in 1902 and began large-scale production of the car.
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