'How Your Hobby Started'


| November/December 1970



Swap Meet

Courtesy of L. B. Herron, Newell, Iowa 50568.

L. B. Herron

3904-47th Avenue, S., Seattle, Washington 98118

Another inventor and famous American businessman whose name is presently before us everywhere, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Pliny F. Olds of Geneva, Ohio. Ransom Eli Olds, 1964-1950, was among the men who pioneered the gasoline engine, which when applied to the horseless carriage, changed the environment of the entire world.

Ransom's father, Pliny F. Olds, was a blacksmith. In his shop, he learned the details of the new harvesting implements as he repaired them. Ransom's boyhood experiences focused on the activities of his father's trade, and it was evident when he was only a boy that he had an aptitude for mechanical equipment. When Ransom was 16, the family moved to Lansing, Michigan, where his father had a small blacksmith and machine shop. Ransom went to school and also helped his father repair all kinds of farm machinery, steam and gasoline engines, as well as marine type engines on the river.

By the time Ransom was 18 years old, he built his first steam engine. He had an idea that a vehicle could be powered with a steam engine and he experimented with this project and by 1891 he completed and tested one and put it on the market. It was well accepted and given much publicity in mechanical journals. Steam power had been more refined at that time, so it was used in his first horseless carriage, he felt that steam was complicated and he continued to experiment with an internal combustion engine. When he was 20 years old, he was successful in building a gasoline engine and sold his first engine in 1885. Gas and gasoline engines were still in the experimental stages in their shop and the development went through different styles and modifications. Several types were built, both in vertical and horizontal models. After a number of years of manufacturing of their engines and with experience gained in building the different versions of the original models, it was decided to standardize on a horizontal design.

The Swap Meet held July 18 and 19, 1970, at the home of L. B. Herron, Newell, Iowa, was a lot of fun and many engines and quite a few seats changed hands. I got six seats I did not have and also four engines.

We had collectors from South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and of course, Iowa. I am going to have a Swap Meet in the Spring.