This 1919 Franklin and those from earlier years look different from most cars of the period because, being air-cooled, the Franklin’s lacked radiators and thus had grilles that were different from those of most cars.
Franklin cars were technological leaders, first with six cylinders (by 1905) and automatic spark advance, in 1907. Demonstrating reliability, L.L. Whitman drove a Franklin from New York City to San Francisco in 1906 in 15 days 2 hours 15 minutes, a new record.
Franklin were undisputed leaders in air-cooled cars at a time when virtually every other manufacturer had adopted water cooling as cheaper and easier to manufacture. Before the invention of antifreeze, the air-cooled car had a huge advantage in cold weather, and Franklins were popular among people such as doctors, who needed an all-weather machine. The limitation of air-cooling was the size of the cylinder bore and the available area for the valves, which limited the power output of the earlier Franklins. By 1921, a change in cooling—moving the fan from sucking hot air to blowing cool air—led the way to the gradual increase in power.
The Franklin Automobile Company was a marketer of automobiles in the United States between 1902 and 1934 in Syracuse, New York. Herbert H. Franklin, the founder, began his career in the metal die casting business before establishing his automobile enterprise. Controlled by Herbert H Franklin it had very few other significant shareholders. Franklin bought its vehicles from the H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company which was only moderately profitable and frequently missed dividends on common stock.
The Franklin companies suffered financial collapse in April 1934. Aside from his consequent retirement CEO Herbert Franklin’s lifestyle was unaffected.