QUESTION: What did the "E" in Ransom E. Olds stand for?
Happy Monday, and welcome back to the American Treasure Tour blog. Our blog entries leading up to the Wurlitzer 165 from Griffith Park was such a huge hit a few weeks ago that we have decided to provide you with another sprawling adventure. It all began on June 3rd in the year 1864. A horrible fight was occurring near the capital city of the Confederacy. In fact, Cold Harbor was only fifteen miles from Richmond, but it could have been five hundred for the progress made by the Union soldiers under Sheridan. Meanwhile, a baby boy was born in Geneva, Ohio to a blacksmith and ironworks manager named Pliny and Sarah Olds. They would name him Ransom. Young Ranny moved with the family to Lansing, Michigan, where he joined his father and older brother Wallace at P.F. Olds & Sons, a company that produced and repaired steam engines. He was only a teenager when he became a part of the management, quitting high school to be able to engage in business affairs. Ranny even designed his own steam engine, one that incorporated a gas burner, which proved substantially more efficient than the then-popular coal or wood burners in use. Within five years, he turned the family business into a strong company.
By the time he was twenty-three, Rancy (no longer Ranny) attached an engine to a carriage and he embraced his life's calling. He was using gas-powered engines by 1896, and formed the Olds Motor Vehicle Company the next year, with financier Samuel Smith as its president and owner. Olds would be vice president and primary automotive designer. We would like to say he lived happily ever after, but it didn't quite work out that way. Tune in tomorrow to find out what became of the company Ranny built on the money of Sam Smith....
ANSWER: A) Eli