A Tribute to the Fossmobile – 1897

David Beckam

As a younger boy, increasing up in Fort Chambly, Quebec, from time to time, I would listen to tales of George Foote Foss’ (my grandfather’s) invention. At moments, I would overhear these stories as my father shared the information with close friends and neighbours who have been browsing our house. Nonetheless, the tales that I most usually read came instantly from my grandfather, as we visited him routinely. I remember fondly, sitting down on a footstool around his feet as he sat in his significant, at ease chair, recounting the ways he took in tinkering, scheduling and eventually, constructing a gasoline engine vehicle, which was to be the initially in Canada – later dubbed: “The Fossmobile.”

In the early 1960s (I was only about age 7), I recall that every person all over me was speaking about a flurry of renewed interest in his accomplishment. It was then that he was offered with two honorary memberships: one from the Classic Vehicle Club of Montreal (VACM) and the other from the prestigious Antique Car Club of America (AACA). Only two Canadians have ever acquired this latter honour. The other Canadian to obtain this was Colonel Robert Samuel McLaughlin, who started the McLaughlin Motor Car Organization in 1907, which was one of the first key vehicle suppliers in Canada.

With these two initiatives, there came a swarm of media interest and I can remember currently being shown newspaper clippings, quite a few of which I however have in my possession now. Not only were there photos and content articles prepared about his honorary memberships, but quite a few of the nearby papers also reprinted his earlier composing of: “The Real Tale of a Little Town Boy,” initially posted in 1954, by The Sherbrooke Daily History.

Getting a relative with historic importance intended that most of his descendants have ended up employing his creation tale and the different publications about it, as a matter for college projects. I keep in mind using his tale as a matter for one particular of my faculty tasks, the two of my two young children did, and just a year in the past my 6-year-old granddaughter did a “demonstrate and notify” at her school about her fantastic-wonderful grandfather’s creation.

George Foote Foss (September 30, 1876 – November 23, 1968) was a mechanic, blacksmith, bicycle repairman and inventor from Sherbrooke, Quebec. For the duration of the winter of 1896, he developed a 4-horsepower one-cylinder gasoline powered car. In the spring of 1897, he done his invention: the very first gasoline-driven car to be constructed in Canada, which was, afterwards referred to as the “Fossmobile”.

It was in early 1896, during a vacation to Boston, Massachusetts to invest in a turret lathe for his growing equipment shop, that my grandfather noticed his to start with cars. These cars and trucks, electrically pushed broughams, ended up rented out for $4.00 an hour. He compensated the rate to have a experience, but sad to say, immediately after a ride of only 50 percent an hour, the batteries died.

Returning to Sherbrooke, he resolved to establish an car that would deal with this dilemma. My grandfather drove his auto in and all over Sherbrooke, Quebec for 4 a long time. He later moved to Montreal, Quebec, exactly where the automobile sat idle for a yr prior to he offered it for $75 in 1902. He experienced beforehand turned down an offer to lover with Henry Ford who went on to kind the Ford Motor Company. He turned down the offer you, as he thought Ford’s Quadricycle vehicle to be inferior to the Fossmobile. He also turned down economic backing to mass-deliver the Fossmobile, citing his inexperience to do so, as he was only 21 years outdated at the time.

I am typically questioned if I know if my grandfather experienced any regrets about not partnering with Ford or not mass-making his creation. From all the things I remember listening to him say, he experienced no regrets. He liked a basic lifetime and I read him say on a lot more than just one celebration, that: “you never live a extended existence with the stresses of operating a big company.” He passed away at age 92, so potentially his idea was ideal, at the very least for him.

Recently, I re-opened the Foss family archives, to improved fully grasp and precisely doc my grandfather’s impressive accomplishment. My objective has been to obtain methods to share this historic Canadian party with automotive fanatics, historians and upcoming generations of Canadians. To this conclude, I have proven a business enterprise, as a suggests to construct networks, foster collaboration and share crucial historic memorabilia.

As George Foss’ grandson, I have talked with some visionaries and I am searching for the assist of other probable specialists in “Classic Car Restoration,” for a incredibly exclusive job. The target is to use reverse engineering (the reproduction of an inventor or manufacturer’s product), to make a “Tribute Automobile,” emulating as carefully as achievable, the specs of George Foss’ creation of the initial gasoline driven automobile crafted in Canada: the Fossmobile. There are no initial drawings, so the Tribute Car will have to be based solely on comprehensive scrutiny of unique Fossmobile images.

I have begun the process of buying vintage pieces from the era, with the hope of setting up this auto, replicating parts only when it is certainly important. I will deliver oversight for this approach and collaborate with vehicle historians and specialists. Along the way, the journey will be documented, while making sure notice to element.
The hope is to honour my grandfather’s legacy and deliver to greater light, this considerable chapter of Canadian record. With its completion, this Tribute Automobile will be a tangible embodiment of the very first gasoline auto designed in Canada. There is a rising interest in showcasing the done Tribute Fossmobile in basic vehicle exhibits. On the other hand, it will inevitably be donated to a Canadian museum to boost historic schooling for present-day and potential generations.

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