MotorCities National Heritage Area


The first Ideal was at 504 S. Hosmer, then relocated as Original in 1912 and moved to 704 E. Kalamazoo. The company started by making motors but soon turned to the production of power lawn mowers--something Olds had been working on and received patent for in 1915. In 1914 the company became Ideal Power Lawn Mower, then in 1916 split again, resurrecting the Ideal Engine Co.

After Olds left the company, REO began its own lawn mower division in 1945, with personnel from Ideal Power Mower. Its slogan was "It's more fun to mow with a REO." Consider the many uses of the internal combustion engine that were only beginning to be realized after the coming of the automobile at the turn of the 20th century. Agrarian life and farm maintenance were something both Olds and Henry Ford explored fully in the period up to the 1920s. Pictured is an ad from Ideal Power Mower, and obvious from the photos is their intended use of these machines in large-scale applications (cemeteries, golf courses).

704 E. Kalamazoo
Lansing, MI 48906