History of Maxwell

1903 -- Jonathan Maxwell designed the first Maxwell car and, with Benjamin Briscoe, formed the Maxwell-Briscoe Company. Using an existing Plant at Tarrytown, N. Y., they started production on June 1904, building 532 Maxwell cars in the first year.

In 1907 they built a new plant at Newcastle, Indiana, which is still part of Chrysler facilities in that city.

1910 -- Benjamin Briscoe organized the United States Motor Company, as an amalgamation of several independents, who were encountering difficulty in securing necessary financial backing. These included: Maxwell, Stoddard-Dayton, Courier, Columbia, Brush, Sampson Trucks and Gray Marine, with the Thomas and other lines being added later.

1913 -- United States Motor Company failed, due to conflict between two of its backers, who also had a financial interest in General Motors. The Maxwell assets were then purchased by Walter Flanders, who reorganized the company as the Maxwell Motor Company, Inc., and continued to build the popular Maxwell cars, sales of which ranked 5th in N.A.C.C. ratings. The Maxwell facilities included plants at Newcastle, Dayton and Highland Park, the latter consisting of a small, two story brick office building on Oakland Avenue and three factory buildings that had been built in 1909. One of these buildings still survives as the Engineering Road Test Garage (Ed. Note: This building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) .

1917 -- Maxwell Motor Company leased the Chalmers Motor Company's Jefferson Avenue Plant, to augment their Highland Park facilities, both of which were needed by Maxwell to fill World War I government orders.

1920 -- Maxwell Motor Company, Inc., owing some $43,000,000 was on the verge of bankruptcy and Walter P. Chrysler, who had retired as President of Buick and vice-president of General Motors, was asked to head-up a reorganization committee, which arranged for the purchase of the combined assets of Maxwell and Chalmers -- and formed Maxwell Motor Corporation, effective May 1921. Mr. Chrysler became Chairman of the Board.

1921 -- Maxwell Motor Corporation continued to build the Chalmers car and an improved Maxwell car, advertised as the "Good Maxwell."

1923 -- Walter Chrysler brought Fred Zeder, Owen Skelton and Carl Breer into the organization, as the nucleus of a new Engineering Department - and while continuing to build the Good Maxwell at Highland Park, commenced production of pilot models of the Chrysler Six in the Jefferson Ave. Plant.

1924 -- The Chrysler Six was introduced to the public in January 1924 during the National Auto Show in New York City, where it was very favorably received, getting off to a good start with production of 32,000 units in the first year.

The Chrysler Corporation was organized effective June 6, 1925, replacing the Maxwell Motor Corporation -- and the Maxwell car was discontinued. A new four- cylinder car, the Chrysler Four, went into production in June at the Highland Park Plant, as a companion car to the Chrysler Six, which was built at the Jefferson Avenue Plant.

1926 -- Chrysler introduced its first big, luxury car - the Imperial "80" to round out its line, along with the Chrysler "50", the "60" and the "70"

1928 -- In June, Chrysler commenced production of the Plymouth car, at Highland Park, replacing the 4-cylinder Chrysler. In July they also started production on a new light six to be known as the DeSoto for distribution though a new DeSoto dealer organization.

In July 1928, Chrysler Corp. also purchased Dodge Brothers, INC., from the New York banking firm of Dillon, Read & Co., for $170,000,000.00 The bankers had purchased the company from Dodge family a few years earlier, after the death of the two Dodge brothers. Dodge became a division of Chrysler Corporation.

In 1928, Chrysler Corporation also established separate divisions for distribution of various lines of cars: Plymouth Motor Corporation, Dodge Brothers Corporation, DeSoto Motor Corporation and the Chrysler Sales Corporation. The Fargo Motor Corp. was also organized to handle national fleet business and the following year Chrysler Motors Parts Corp was formed to merchandise parts for all of the Corporation's lines. Chrysler Export Corp., had been organized in 1927.

1930 -- The Plymouth Franchise, which had been handled by Chrysler Division dealers was also given to Dodge and DeSoto dealers, as well as Chrysler dealers, thereby providing approximately 10,000 outlets for Plymouth cars.