A Tribute to the Fossmobile – 1897
As a younger boy, rising up in Fort Chambly, Quebec, on occasion, I might hear tales of George Foote Foss’ (my grandfather’s) invention. At occasions, I might overhear these tales as my father shared the main points with buddies and neighbours who have been visiting our house. Nevertheless, the tales that I most frequently heard got here straight from my grandfather, as we visited him regularly. I recall fondly, sitting on a footstool close to his toes as he sat in his giant, snug chair, recounting the steps he took in tinkering, planning and in the end, constructing a gasoline engine car, which was to be the primary in Canada – later dubbed: “The Fossmobile.”
Within the early Sixties (I used to be solely about age 7), I recall that everybody round me was speaking a few flurry of renewed curiosity in his accomplishment. It was then that he was offered with two honorary memberships: one from the Classic Vehicle Membership of Montreal (VACM) and the opposite from the celebrated Vintage Vehicle Membership of America (AACA). Solely two Canadians have ever obtained this latter honour. The opposite Canadian to obtain this was Colonel Robert Samuel McLaughlin, who began the McLaughlin Motor Automotive Firm in 1907, which was one of many first main car producers in Canada.
With these two initiatives, there got here a swarm of media consideration and I can recall being proven newspaper clippings, lots of which I nonetheless have in my possession immediately. Not solely have been there images and articles written about his honorary memberships, however lots of the native papers additionally reprinted his earlier writing of: “The True Story of a Small City Boy,” initially printed in 1954, by The Sherbrooke Every day File.
Having a relative with historic significance meant that almost all of his descendants have ended up utilizing his invention story and the varied publications about it, as a subject for college tasks. I bear in mind utilizing his story as a subject for one among my college tasks, each of my two kids did, and only a 12 months in the past my 6-year-old granddaughter did a “present and inform” at her college about her great-great grandfather’s invention.
George Foote Foss (September 30, 1876 – November 23, 1968) was a mechanic, blacksmith, bicycle repairman and inventor from Sherbrooke, Quebec. Through the winter of 1896, he developed a four-horsepower single-cylinder gasoline powered car. Within the spring of 1897, he accomplished his invention: the primary gasoline-powered car to be inbuilt Canada, which was, later known as the “Fossmobile”.
It was in early 1896, throughout a visit to Boston, Massachusetts to purchase a turret lathe for his increasing machine store, that my grandfather noticed his first vehicles. These automobiles, electrically pushed broughams, have been rented out for $4.00 an hour. He paid the payment to have a experience, however sadly, after a experience of solely half an hour, the batteries died.
Returning to Sherbrooke, he determined to construct an car that may deal with this downside. My grandfather drove his automotive in and round Sherbrooke, Quebec for 4 years. He later moved to Montreal, Quebec, the place the automotive sat idle for a 12 months earlier than he offered it for $75 in 1902. He had beforehand turned down a proposal to associate with Henry Ford who went on to kind the Ford Motor Firm. He turned down the provide, as he believed Ford’s Quadricycle automobile to be inferior to the Fossmobile. He additionally turned down monetary backing to mass-produce the Fossmobile, citing his inexperience to take action, as he was solely 21 years previous on the time.
I’m typically requested if I do know if my grandfather had any regrets about not partnering with Ford or not mass-producing his invention. From all the pieces I recall listening to him say, he had no regrets. He loved a easy life and I heard him say on multiple event, that: “you do not reside an extended life with the stresses of working a giant enterprise.” He handed away at age 92, so maybe his principle was proper, at the least for him.
Just lately, I re-opened the Foss household archives, to raised perceive and precisely doc my grandfather’s exceptional accomplishment. My goal has been to search out methods to share this historic Canadian occasion with automotive fanatics, historians and future generations of Canadians. To this finish, I’ve established a enterprise, as a method to construct networks, foster collaboration and share necessary historic memorabilia.
As George Foss’ grandson, I’ve talked with some visionaries and I’m looking for the assistance of different potential specialists in “Classic Vehicle Restoration,” for a really particular venture. The objective is to make use of reverse engineering (the copy of an inventor or producer’s product), to create a “Tribute Vehicle,” emulating as carefully as doable, the specs of George Foss’ invention of the primary gasoline powered car inbuilt Canada: the Fossmobile. There are not any unique drawings, so the Tribute Vehicle should be primarily based solely on detailed scrutiny of unique Fossmobile pictures.
I’ve begun the method of buying classic components from the period, with the hope of constructing this car, replicating components solely when it’s completely needed. I’ll present oversight for this course of and collaborate with car historians and specialists. Alongside the way in which, the journey shall be documented, whereas making certain consideration to element.
The hope is to honour my grandfather’s legacy and convey to better mild, this vital chapter of Canadian historical past. With its completion, this Tribute Vehicle shall be a tangible embodiment of the primary gasoline automotive inbuilt Canada. There’s a rising curiosity in showcasing the finished Tribute Fossmobile in basic car reveals. Nevertheless, it can ultimately be donated to a Canadian museum to reinforce historic schooling for present and future generations.