The Franklin Automobile – Early Advertising

The Franklin Automobile

The Franklin Automobile company made cars in the Syracuse, New York from 1902 to the early 1930’s. The automaker was started by Herbert H. Franklin of the H. H. Franklin manufacturing company.

The Franklin auto was primarily marketed as a luxury car and was seen in print ads starting around 1907. Here are some of the best examples we found starting with this text ad that appeared in the Arizona Republican on October 27, 1902.

BOOM IN AUTOMOBILE MAKING IN SYRACUSE – Five Concerns Will Be Manufacturing Them by Next Season. If present plans are realized, five concerns will be manufacturing automobiles in Syracuse next season. Three are actually
making machines at present. They are the Century Motor Vehicle Co., the H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. and the Stearns Steam Carriage Co..


First Franklin Automobile Ad Found – 1902

The new factory of the H. H. Franklin company is well under way, and the company expects to occupy it by January 1. Meantime the automobiles are being manufactured at their Geddes street factory. The feature of the Franklin automobile is an air-cooled motor and an engine of 12 horse power. Several of the most prominent automobilist of the country have bought these machines, among them Elliott Shepard of New York and Max Fleischmann of Cincinnati.

As seen in the above advertisement, the Franklin Automobile ads remained basic until this one appeared in the New York Sun in 1907.

franklin auto ad

Franklin Car Advertisement 1907

The Franklin models for 1908 included the 16 h.p. Runabout, the 16 h.p. Touring Car, the 28 h.p. available as a Runabout or Touring model and the 42 h.p. also available as a Runabout or Touring model.


Occupants of Air Cooled Car Sit Still and Watch Fellow Travelers at Work on Heated Radiators – Coming out of its first contest of the new year with a clean score, the Franklin motor car has started Its record for the calendar year of 1910 by finishing un-penalized In tho two-day midwinter endurance run held by the Rochester Automobile club. The run was one of two days, the twenty contestants going to Syracuse on the first day. and back to Rochester on the second. Tho Franklin entry was a six-cylinder touring car of 42-horsepower.

model g franklin automobile

Franklin Model G (click to view full size)

A Franklin was the only one of the score of contestants which had an air cooled engine. It was the only one which did not carry a shovel and being of light weight, was the only one which did not have to be extricated by its occupants from the snow drifts. While some of the heavy water-cooled cars were being shoveled out, every now and then a shovelful of snow being tossed onto the radiator to prevent overheating, the occupants of the Franklin car sat and looked on at their leisure, a rule having been made that no car should leave its place in line and pass another. When the snow was thrown upon the radiators of the water cooled cars it hissed and quickly melted. The Franklin engine, cooled by air, was found to be cool when it reached Syracuse after the ten-hour struggle over ninety miles of roadway.

John Burns of Syracuse, who last year drove a Franklin to three clean scores, drove the Franklin In the Rochester contest, the car being entered by F. H. Sanders of the Rochester branch of the Franklin Automobile company. Burns,- Sanders and two guests equipped themselves with warm robes and blankets and left It to those In the other cars to carry extra tin shovels and even large pieces of canvas to spread down when the going was especially bad.

Travel was difficult enough even in the better stretches of roadway. Severe weather and a heavy snowfall had made the road icy and covered it with drifts. Several of the cars were penalized for stalling of the engine or the making of repairs.

The route to Syracuse was through Lyons and Clyde, with a stop for dinner at the latter place. The party was entertained in the evening by members of the Syracuse Automobile club. The return was through Auburn and Geneva. The roads on the second day were found to be in such a state that often the drivers took to the fields and the difficulties In getting through the snow and over the ruts were even greater for some of the motor cars than those of the first day.

little six by Franklin

Franklin Little Six 1912 (Click to view full size)

The New Franklin Air-Cooled Engine Will Not Over-Heat – (The San Francisco call., March, 1910) The Franklin new cooling system, the most notable success of the year in automobile construction, is a remarkable achievement. The cooling system is the engine itself. There is no auxiliary mechanism. This makes the Franklin the only automobile with an engine the operation of which does not depend upon something besides the engine.

The water cooled engine will not operate unless every detail of the mechanism which makes up the cooling system is in working order. Therefore it is not fully reliable. In the Franklin, instead of adding mechanism as is done in the water cooled engine, we simply make use of the engine itself. The fly-wheel, necessary on any engine, is a suction fan of new type. This suction fan fly wheel envelops each cylinder in a volume of rapidly moving air giving a cooling effect superior in every way to water cooling.

Since there is no mechanism to look after you really do not know you have a cooling system. It requires no attention, gives you no trouble. It is the limit of reliability. It will not overheat. The 1910 Franklin with its new cooling system has been in the hands of owners since last June.

franklin automobile 1915

Franklin Speed Record -1915 (click to enlarge)

Franklin Lowers Record Between New York and Washington

Washington Evening Star 1915 – This is to certify that a 1915 model of 6-30 Franklin, five-passenger touring car, equipped with Goodrich Silvertown Cord tires, made the run from New York to Washington, D. C., Monday, April 19, 1915, in 9 hours and 9 minutes. Distance, 240.2 miles. The car was driven by David S. Hendrick, local representative for the Franklin car, who was accompanied by Ed. B. Terry, Harry E. Duckstien. automobile editor of the Washington Post, and Howard S. Fisk. automobile editor of The Washington Star. On Sunday, April 18, 1915, the former record was lowered by one hour, the time being 10 hours and 41 minutes.

franklin 1922

Three Franklin Automobile Models from 1922 (click to enlarge)

More on Air Cooled & Mileage Claims – (Goodwin’s Weekly 1916) – In its advertisements and business circulars the Franklin Automobile company is making claim to one of the greatest records ever attained by an automobile, in fact it is set out as a world’s record, the New York to Chicago run, a thousand miles, on one gallon of oil. This, it is claimed, is made, possible by the Franklin direct air cooling system. It delivers the highest economy in gasoline, according to the Franklin announcement. It is the one thing which separates the Franklin amongst all the fine cars in America.

The oil-consumption test was made on November 20 when the car, a Franklin Sedan, arrived in V Chicago after a no-stop run from New York. The lubricating system was sealed at the start in New York and the car carried two observers. The test was conducted from start to finish under the supervision of the Automobile club of America, which makes the record an official one.

Coming close on the heels of the Franklin low gear run made August 1 to 4, Walla Walla, Wash., to San Francisco, 860 miles, without once stop ping the engine, which proved the car free from heating troubles, the second test hardly occasions great surprise among those who have closely fol lowed the career of the Syracuse machine.

1920 franklin advertisement

Franklin Ad – 1920 (clink to enlarge)


More on gas claims from the The Hood River Glacier, 1915

Telling of record of the Franklin automobile owned by EL L. McClain, ho i connected with the Columbia Auto & Machine Co., the Oregonian of Sunday, May 2, contained a column article.

brougham 1919

The Franklin Brougham – 1919 (click to enlarge)

The car used was a stock machine that has been used for some time by Mr. McClain. It is exactly like the Franklin machine driven by William Stewart, who purchased the car from the Columbia Auto & Machine Co. The Oregonian story follows: By sending a five-passenger six cylinder Franklin automobile 43.8 miles on one gallon of gasoline J. C. Braly, the Franklin distributor for this territory, demonstrated yesterday that camels haven’t anything on his make of car when it comes to covering long distances on a small amount of nourishment.

Similar tests were held at the same time yesterday by the Franklin authorities in 120 cities under proper supervision. The official observers of the Portland test were Charles II. Willams, manager of the local branch of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, whose Goodyear cord tires were used on the Franklin, and Chester A. Moores, of the Oregonian.

Of course, the car did not eat gas” during the full course of the trip. Mr. Braly took advantage of every chance to coast down grades, starved the car whenever he could and “babied” it at every turn. Once in a while he had good luck in getting in just ahead of street cars and auto trucks at congested crossings that offered a coast at the other side and then again he had several instances of bad luck. His constant object was to get along with the least possible engine explosion.


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