Based on our research, we think this might be the oldest surviving automotive oil can in the world. We believe that this very clear image is that of an 1897 DeDion Bouton. The clarity is remarkable, especially when you consider that this particular object will most likely be 125 years old next year. Dr. Simeone tells the story.
Harry John Lawson was a British entrepreneur who sought to create an early monopoly on petrol-driven cars through the acquisition of multiple patents. His end goal never included vehicle production, rather he aimed to exploit the patents he purchased by charging royalties to manufacturers that produced vehicles from the patents he owned.
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