Tuesday 4th February 1941
Ransom Eli Olds aged 76 received his last automobile patent for an internal combustion engine design. An innovator throughout his career, Olds built the first American steam-powered vehicle in 1887 when he was only 18. In 1897, Olds received a patent for his “motor carriage,” a gasoline-powered vehicle that he built the year before. He is also credited with having developed the first automobile production line. In an effort to meet the production demands for the Olds Runabout, Olds contracted with the likes of the Dodge brothers for the parts to his cars, which he then assembled in his own factory space. Olds’ assembly line was able to produce a higher volume of automobiles in a shorter period of time than was possible using the traditional method of building each vehicle individually. Olds Motor Works sold 425 Runabouts in its first year of business, 2,500 the next year, 5,000 in 1904, and the rest is automobile history.