As a younger boy, rising up in Fort Chambly, Quebec, occasionally, I might hear tales of George Foote Foss’ (my grandfather’s) invention. At instances, I might overhear these tales as my father shared the main points with pals and neighbours who had been visiting our dwelling. Nevertheless, the tales that I most frequently heard got here instantly from my grandfather, as we visited him ceaselessly. I recall fondly, sitting on a footstool close to his toes as he sat in his massive, snug chair, recounting the steps he took in tinkering, planning and in the end, constructing a gasoline engine vehicle, 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 couple of 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 acquired this latter honour. The opposite Canadian to obtain this was Colonel Robert Samuel McLaughlin, who began the McLaughlin Motor Automobile Firm in 1907, which was one of many first main vehicle 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 at the moment. Not solely had been there images and articles written about his honorary memberships, however most of the native papers additionally reprinted his earlier writing of: “The True Story of a Small City Boy,” initially revealed in 1954, by The Sherbrooke Every day Document.
Having a relative with historic significance meant that almost all of his descendants have ended up utilizing his invention story and the assorted publications about it, as a subject for varsity initiatives. I keep in mind utilizing his story as a subject for one among my faculty initiatives, each of my two youngsters did, and only a 12 months in the past my 6-year-old granddaughter did a “present and inform” at her faculty 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. Throughout the winter of 1896, he developed a four-horsepower single-cylinder gasoline powered vehicle. Within the spring of 1897, he accomplished his invention: the primary gasoline-powered vehicle 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 cars. These vehicles, electrically pushed broughams, had been rented out for $4.00 an hour. He paid the price to have a trip, however sadly, after a trip of solely half an hour, the batteries died.
Returning to Sherbrooke, he determined to construct an vehicle that will tackle this downside. My grandfather drove his automobile in and round Sherbrooke, Quebec for 4 years. He later moved to Montreal, Quebec, the place the automobile sat idle for a 12 months earlier than he offered it for $75 in 1902. He had beforehand turned down a suggestion to accomplice with Henry Ford who went on to type the Ford Motor Firm. He turned down the supply, 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 every thing I recall listening to him say, he had no regrets. He loved a easy life and I heard him say on a couple of event, that: “you do not dwell an extended life with the stresses of operating a giant enterprise.” He handed away at age 92, so maybe his principle was proper, a minimum of for him.
Lately, I re-opened the Foss household archives, to raised perceive and precisely doc my grandfather’s exceptional accomplishment. My goal has been to seek out methods to share this historic Canadian occasion with automotive fans, historians and future generations of Canadians. To this finish, I’ve established a enterprise, as a method to construct networks, foster collaboration and share essential historic memorabilia.
As George Foss’ grandson, I’ve talked with some visionaries and I’m searching for the assistance of different potential consultants in “Classic Vehicle Restoration,” for a really particular undertaking. The aim is to make use of reverse engineering (the copy of an inventor or producer’s product), to create a “Tribute Vehicle,” emulating as intently as attainable, the specs of George Foss’ invention of the primary gasoline powered vehicle inbuilt Canada: the Fossmobile. There aren’t any unique drawings, so the Tribute Vehicle should be primarily based solely on detailed scrutiny of unique Fossmobile images.
I’ve begun the method of buying classic elements from the period, with the hope of constructing this vehicle, replicating elements solely when it’s completely needed. I’ll present oversight for this course of and collaborate with vehicle historians and consultants. Alongside the best way, the journey shall be documented, whereas guaranteeing consideration to element.
The hope is to honour my grandfather’s legacy and produce to higher mild, this important chapter of Canadian historical past. With its completion, this Tribute Vehicle shall be a tangible embodiment of the primary gasoline automobile inbuilt Canada. There’s a rising curiosity in showcasing the finished Tribute Fossmobile in basic vehicle exhibits. Nevertheless, it is going to ultimately be donated to a Canadian museum to reinforce historic schooling for present and future generations.