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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Off We Go: 1908

Off We Go: 1908

Washington, D.C., circa 1908. "Mrs. Guy Henry in auto." Which our readers have identified as a Maxwell Tourabout. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.

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Where is

Tweety Bird?

1905 Maxwell Model L Tourabout

1905 was the first year for Maxwells (some sold in late 1904 as 1905 models); this is the little one, the Model L. Two-cylinder opposed motor and with two-speed transmission and shaft drive in an era where final drive by chain was popular.

The small plaque up front is probably the radiator maker's plate; radiators for Maxwell and Brush may have been made by the same company. Maxwells had the name only on the hubcaps and threshold plates. Some (and I think they were dealer installed later) had the Maxwell script over the front of the radiator. Most period photos show only the nameless radiator but these cars had a very unique look not to be confused with any other.

The Brush didn't come into the picture with Maxwell until 1910, when Benjamin Briscoe started his New United Motors, which included the Maxwell, Brush and several other makes.

A neat slogan was used by Maxwell: Perfectly Simple -- Simply Perfect.

It was a good little car. I've had rides in several and they settle down to a nice lope. Going uphill on one tour I hopped off and ran alongside. Not a powerful car, these little Maxwells, but their larger two-cylinder Model H had ample power for an early, not too large, car.


If it was a Maxwell, shouldn't it have the Maxwell script on the radiator?

[Noop. There wasn't any. - Dave]

CSI: Shorpy

It's time for Shorpyists to take it to the next level. You can ID plants, animals, cars and ephemera, let's move to fingerprint analysis of the marks left on this photo.

The Maxwell

The Maxwell was the first car to be driven across America by a woman, Alice Huyler Ramsey, in 1909. It got the job done.

I'm thinking

it is NOT a 1969 Cougar. A friend of mine had one and I remember the fenders being sportier.

Maxwell Tourabout

It's a Maxwell Tourabout. Maxwell and Brush were part of the same company.


It has the same little plaque on the radiator showing a car as on some Brush roadsters I found on the Web.

Locked trunks

I don't know, but I want one. Did anyone ever figure out why they overprotected the trees so much? Were cars that apt to bump into them?

[Horses tended to nibble on them. - Dave]

'08 Brush

I believe this may be a new 1908 Brush. Note the lack of headlights mounted in the front.

Early Wheels

I'm guessing it's a 1908 Brush Runabout... or perhaps an earlier model B Cadillac.

Auto Plant

Is that a plumeria on the porch? If so, I am somewhat surprised to see it in D.C.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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