Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Very Merry Oldsmobile (& Giveaway)





Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runnabout 1904
Curved Dash Runnabout Oldsmobile
1904
 If you entered a trivia contest to match these names with the product they're associated with, I’m sure you’d have no problem: Walter P. Chrysler, Louis Chevrolet, David Dunbar Buick, Kiichiro Toyoda, Louis Renault, or Ransom Eli Olds. You might also guess Henry M. Leland by the process of elimination, although his last name wasn’t Cadillac.

As you can see, Henry Ford wasn’t the only innovator of the manufacture of cars in the early 19th Century. He just happened to be one of the most well-known and touted.

Ransom Eli Olds

I got a bit acquainted with Ransom Eli Olds (1864-1950), American inventor
Ransom Eli Olds
and automobile manufacturer, through fiction research. Mr. Olds claimed to build his first steam car in 1894 and first gasoline-powered car in 1896. He later designed the three-horsepower, curved-dash Oldsmobile.

This car was the first commercially successful American-made automobile. It was also the first to use a progressive assembly system and foreshadowed modern mass-production methods.

The original Oldsmobiles appeared in 1901 in Lansing, Michigan and the early models reached their peak of sales in 1904 with 5,000 owners. Later, he also developed the REO brand of cars.

When his cars steadily lost ground to competitors, after 1915 Mr. Olds turned most of his attention from the automobile business to activities such as marketing a lawn mower he invented and land speculation in Florida. An all-around talented man, as are most inventors and innovators.


My Merry Oldsmobile


"Come away with me, Lucille,
in my merry Oldsmobile"
“Come away with me, Lucille, in my merry Oldsmobile,” were lyrics to a popular waltz song (1905) with music by Gus Edwards and lyrics by Vincent Bryan. Wikipedia states the song’s chorus “is one of the most enduring automobile-oriented songs.”

The song was often used in older cartoons, especially in a car scene. The song has been played on Main Street USA at Disneyland. Bill Murray revived the old song for a "follow the bouncing ball" cartoon in the 1930s. 

Some of the verses were slightly suggestive by standards at the time. General Motors altered the lyrics and used the song as a marketing jingle for several decades. I'm sure R.E. Olds appreciated all of these marketing ploys.

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What was the oldest Oldsmobile you’ve ever ridden or driven? Was there a particular memory attached to this event? What did you like most or dislike about this car brand? Did you figure out how Mr. Olds came up with the naming of the REO models?

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About Author & Giveaway Offer…

Wind in the Wires
A Trails of Reba Cahill Novel
Book 1
Janet Chester Bly has written and co-written 32 books with her late husband, award-winning western author Stephen Bly. She and her three sons completed Stephen’s last historical novel for him, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. Read about the story here: http://www.blybooks.com/category/finishing-dads-novel/.
New release Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill, is her first solo adult novel. It’s a contemporary (set in 1991) western mystery. It’s a road adventure with a touch of romance. It’s Cowgirl Lit. Comment on this post to enter drawing for free paperback (U.S. only) or PDF file copy for anyone.
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24 comments:

  1. I never had an Oldsmobile, nor did my parents, but my mother in law has a 1990s-era model she loves.

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    1. Rebecca: Your m-i-l could do a commercial! :-)

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  2. I would assume that REO is because that is his initials!

    I really don't remember having/driving Oldsmobiles growing up, always FORD or something foreign as I remember.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Patty: "FORD or something foreign" seems an anomaly! :-)

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  3. Interesting article! I don't believe we ever owned an Oldsmobile, so I have no memories of them.

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    1. We never have either. Please leave your email to be entered in the giveaway drawing...and thanks!

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  4. Very interesting. I knew there were others than Ford that invented vehicles, but did not realize there were so many. I don't recall every riding in an Oldsmobile at least I have no memory of such.
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. Betti: Oh, boy, howdy. There sure were a lot of different car models. Not all of them survived, but still a huge number that did!

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  5. Love that song and love the car. We've had several Oldsmobiles through the years. I loved them and am sorry they quit making them. We had a Cutlass and three 88's. When we were young marrieds in 1964 with 2 boys under the age of 4, my mother-in-law was very ill at Christmas. My dad didn't want us to drive our little economy Ford Falcon from Houston to Arkansas with our boys, so he loaned us his big new Oldsmoblie 98 Sedan. It was blue and white and drove like a dream. I was forever grateful to him for helping us make that last trip. My mother-in-law passed away the day after we came back to Houston.

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    1. Martha: Thanks so much for sharing your memory. You certainly take the experience prize so far with actual knowledge of driving & owning an Olds!

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    2. When we had to trade in our last Olds, they were no longer made, so we got a Cadillac. Now we have Toyota because our son works for Southwest Toyota Distributors.

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  6. My grandfather (dad's dad) always had Oldsmobiles, and my parents had them until they were no longer made. The oldest one I rode in was a 1928 sedan that my dad purchased when he collected antique cars when I was growing up. He wanted this particular year because that was the car his family had when he was born. It was one of his old cars that actually fit our family of 5, so my brothers and I had more room and we didn't squabble so much.

    lindajhutchins@gmail.com

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    1. Linda: Fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing your family experience with these cars!

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  7. I bet it's sure to be a great book!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  8. I don't know that I ever rode in an Olds. We're Chevy folks.

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  9. Thank you for your interesting post! We went from being Ford folks to Chevy.

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    1. Melanie: I'll bet there's a story about why...

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  10. I rode in some Olds in the 50s and 60's Don't remember much about them tho. Would love to win Janet's new book. I owned a yellow and black Hudson in the 70s. Sure loved the looks of that car and it got a lot of likes.. I loved the old Model T also. Thanks for this giveaway. > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. A yellow and black Hudson! Wow, there's an oldie but goodie!

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  11. I have no memories of Oldsmobiles. Seems my dad was a Chevy man, or whatever was cheap that he could find. Thanks for the giveaway. bcrug(at)myfairpoint(dot)net

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    1. Hey, everyone: Will announce a winner of the giveaway either late this evening or tomorrow morning ... thanks so much for all your comments! Still time for more ....

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  12. Congratulations to SusanLulu: You were drawn to be the winner to receive my novel, Wind In The Wires!

    ReplyDelete