Maxwell Automobile

In 1904 the Maxwell-Briscoe Company was founded by Jonathan Dixon Maxwell and Benjamin Briscoe in Tarrytown, New York.

The Tarrytown factory was destroyed by fire in 1907. Maxwell-Briscoe built a new factory in New Castle, Indiana. It was the world’s largest automobile plant and Chrysler used it until 2004 when it was demolished.

In 1913, Maxwell’s assets were acquired by Walter Flanders and moved the company to Detroit, Michigan, but also kept two plants in Dayton, Ohio to manufacture some Maxwell vehicles.

Around 60,000 Maxwell cars had been sold by 1914 making it one of the top three automobile companies along with Buick and Ford. By the time the recession of 1920 hit, over half of Maxwell’s inventory was unsold.

Walter P. Chrysler acquired the controlling interest in Maxwell and re-incorporated in West Virginia. In 1925 Chrysler formed his own company, phased out the Maxwell brand, and created the name Plymouth.

Famous Maxwell vehicles were a 1916 Model 25 Touring which Jack Benny drove for decades. Another Maxwell vehicle was featured in a 1920 film Something New, where Nell Shipman and Bert Van Tuyle escaped Mexican Bandits by driving the car across the Mexican badlands.

Image Caption: Maxwell Mascotte Touring 1911. Credit: Lars-Goran Lindgren Sweden/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.0)