A new gas engine firm has been organized in Lansing, Michigan, known as the Reliance Engineering Company. They have purchased the Seager Engine Works of the same city and will manufacture Olds engines and Reliance cream separators.
This business was started thirty-eight years ago by the Olds Brothers. They were almost, if not quite, the first, in the United States to engage in the business of making gas engines. There were many difficulties to contend with in the early days. The buying public knew nothing about gas engines and cared less. It was hard to build up a trade. And then there were engineering difficulties to contend with. There were no magnetos nor even make and break ignition. They depended upon the hot tube.
When the automobile began to be talked about, the Olds Engine Company began experimenting. That was sometime in the late eighties. They made quite a good little runabout as early as 1891 or 1892 and were thus one of the first in the automobile business. A few years later along about 1899 or 1902 they enjoyed a tremendous trade in Olds runabouts. About this time the Olds Brothers dissolved partnership and one founded the Olds Automobile Company, the other the Reo.
The original gas engine plant was taken over by the Seager Engine Works and continued to do business under that name for a number of years. Finally they got tied up with a contract with the Rumely Products Company under the terms of which the latter agreed to market their entire output. They discontinued their own sales organization and of course when Rumelys got in financial difficulties the Seager Engine Works found themselves also in trouble. It has taken several years to get "unscrambled" from Rumelys and Harris Brothers, but it has been at last accomplished by the reorganization of a new company.
The Rumely Products Co., Laporte, Ind., recently perfected an important selling arrangement whereby they closed a contract with the Seager Engine Works, Lansing, Mich., for the sale of the Company's engines in that portion of the United States west of Ohio and south of Virginia. We are given to understand that this arrangement includes everything manufactured by the Seager Engine Works. The Rumely Products Co., considering the number of lines they have added this season, are practically in a position to regard every farmer as a prospect. We are given to understand that this is a selling arrangement only and does not change the status of the Seager organization. The company's line is sold east of Buffalo by Adriance-Platt & Co., Poughkeepsie, N. Y.
- The Complete Guide to Stationary Gas Engines by Mark Meincke, 1996 pages 157 & 161
- Gas Review, Feb 1915, page 50
- Gas Power, Oct 1912 page 112