David Maxwell: The Genius Who Said "No" to Henry Ford

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Revision Studios today announced the release of "The Maxmobile," a feature-length documentary about the first 100% Canadian car. David Maxwell, a Watford, Ontario blacksmith, built the Maxmobile entirely by hand from the single cylinder engine to the hickory wagon wheels. It hit Ontario's dirt roads in 1900.

David Maxwell was an automotive pioneer far ahead of his time. His genius, ingenuity and spirit of entrepreneurship live on in the restoration of the car he built, now restored and memorialized for all to enjoy, in person at the Watford Museum and electronically though this wonderful video.

Revision Studios of High Rolls New Mexico today announced the release of "The Maxmobile," a feature-length documentary about the first completely Canadian car. David Maxwell, a Watford, Ontario blacksmith and carriage maker, built his first Maxmobile entirely by himself from the single cylinder engine to the hickory wagon wheels. It tore up Canada's dirt roads four years ahead of the Model A Ford.

Many other "first" cars of the time were merely assembled by people who bought engines and parts from around the world. Maxwell designed and built every part of the Maxmobile himself. By hand. He created his own carburetor, constructed his own radiator and even invented his own springs, selling the patent to an American man who made a fortune from it.
Early automobile pioneers Henry Ford and Sam McLaughlin were eager to be in business with Dave Maxwell. Ford wanted Maxwell to be his partner but Mrs. Maxwell refused to move to Detroit and leave family and small town life behind. Maxwell reportedly told Sam McLaughlin of McLaughlin (later McLaughlin Buick) that cars were a passing fad and his future was with farm wagons. The Maxmobile should not be confused with the Maxwell car, made by Maxwell Briscoe Company of Tarrytown, New York, which came years later and was eventually sold to Chrysler.

Maxwell handmade several versions of the Maxmobile, constantly improving it. 110 years later, the Maxmobile still runs and is on display in the Watford Museum, restored for the town's 1973 centennial. A one-cylinder, chain-drive machine (originally belts), the Maxmobile became famous for removing ladies' skirts when they got caught in the exposed chain. The Maxmobile had many other talents, including home heating. In winter, Maxwell removed its radiator and installed it in the upstairs bedroom piping hot water from the wood stove reservoir in his kitchen.

Producer Max Mitchell, great nephew of Dave Maxwell, says many of the people in the documentary have passed away. "We were lucky to get them in time. This is the first and only documentary ever made about Uncle Dave and his Maxmobile and includes photos and footage never before seen."

Member of Parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Bev Shipley, recently commented, "David Maxwell was an automotive pioneer far ahead of his time. His genius, ingenuity and spirit of entrepreneurship live on in the restoration of the car he built, now restored and memorialized for all to enjoy, in person at the Watford Museum and electronically though this wonderful video."

According to Robert Tremain, Curator of Lambton County Museums, The Maxmobile documentary provides "a delightful glimpse into the daily life of a rural service town in the first quarter of the last century."

The Maxmobile documentary traces the story of David Maxwell's life and times through the near loss and destruction of his only surviving car and the dramatic story of its rescue and restoration. See "The Maxmobile" trailer and buy DVDs at http://www.themaxmobile.com.

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