Car Historian Q&A

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know about Oldsmobile? Our car historians are serious about Olds history, and we’d love to answer your questions.


Hi there,

We, Southland Sod Farms, have acquired a Model R Ideal Power Lawn Mower.

My boss asked me to research some trivia and history so that we may have a display board created to show the mower at Home & Garden shows, as well as at antique engine and tractor events that we also participate in.

I was able to come up with the Ransom Olds connection, which in itself is quite interesting. Would you be able to steer me toward any specific background on the Ideal Power Lawn Mower Company, years of operation, etc…?

Thank you for any info you might have. – Mike


Hi Mike, see below for a good summary of the Ideal. You have a great example of an early Ideal powered by an air cooled hit and miss Ideal engine. If you ever decide you no longer want the mower, please let us know. Please credit: R. E. Olds Transportation Museum with this information. Summary of the Ideal…

Ideal Gas Engine Company was organized in 1907 at 221 North Cedar Street to continue producing the Maud-S Windmill Company’s “Ideal” engine. In 1910 Ideal merged with the Air Cooled Motor Company with R.E. Olds becoming president.    Ideal continued making both air and water cooled stationary engines after the merger. The operation was named The Original Gas Engine Company from 1912 to 1915 and moved to 700 East Kalamazoo Street. The Ideal gas engine powered lawn mower was an added product in 1914, based on an R.E. Olds patent. In 1922 the operation was renamed the Ideal Power Lawn Mower Company,  although stationary engines were still offered. Ideal Power Lawn Mower made various sizes of Ideal engine powered mowers, mostly promoted for estates, country clubs and golf courses. In 1922, they sold a riding version, the “Triplex”, which was the world’s first lawn tractor. The earlier models featured a large roller that propelled the mower and rolled the turf at the same time. The Mower Company was in business into 1945 in Lansing when the operation was sold to the Indian Motorcycle Co.

I have a 1920 Oldsmobile T truck that I drive around. It is missing the gauges and was hoping you could direct me to someone who might have some parts for this. Thanks. – Brent

Hi Brent, Your best bet would be the Olds Club or the Antique Olds Club:;

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