Ransom Eli Olds (1864 - 1950) experimented with steam carriages in the mid 1880's and moved to experimenting with IC engines in the early 1890's. He started building an IC engine car for the 1895 Times-Herald race but could not complete the car in time for the race. In 1897, the Old Motor Vehicle Co was formed and the first car was built. In 1899 , the company name was changed to Old Motor Works and was incorporated to build and sell "perfect" cars.
The famous Curved Dash was introduced in 1901 and was an immediate best seller, selling more than 400 units in the first year. To be able to meet the rising demand, Olds invented the "First Automobile Assembly Line" with interchangeable parts, to mass produce cars. In all 19000 Curved Dash cars were made between 1901 and 1907.
1901 - Curved Dash.
A video explaining the parts of the Curved Dash (Engine, gearbox, chain etc) is here - http://youtu.be/7ZVd46f4Iq0
In 1904 , Ransom E Olds quit the company over disputes with the directors. He started a new company , named REO which continued to manufacture cars Ransom Old designs.
Old Motor Works was integrated in to General Motors in 1908 and continued to manufacture cars under Oldsmobile brand. Some of the famous cars being Oldsmobile 88, F-85, Cutlass , 442 etc
Oldsmobile 88 Oldsmobile Cutlass
In 1949 , Oldsmobile introduced a new OHV V8 Engine, named Rocket in the Oldsmobile 88 cars and the engine came to be known as the Rocket 88 engine. This engine was one of the last carburetted engines operating till the early 1990's. The Rocket engine was so famous that even the logo of Oldsmobile started changing to depicting a rocket, during this period.
The logo of Oldsmobile , past and the last -
The Oldsmobile brand was retired in 2004 by General Motors after 96 years.