The H. H. Franklin Club, Inc.
March 8 , 1999
Copyright © 1998-1999 The H. H. Franklin Club, Inc. All rights reserved
THE STORY OF HERBERT H. FRANKLIN
By FRANK J. EARLY
Air Cooled News
Issue No. 10, July 1956
The Franklin story is an epic of our times, the story of Herbert H. Franklin and of the Franklin automobile.
"0ur town was a good place for a boy," he said, speaking of Lisle in Broome County, where he was born near 90 years ago.
You enter Lisle now from Route 11, about 50 miles south of Syracuse, Crossing a bridge west over the little Tioughnioga River, you pass by on the left the buildings of the Congregational Christian Conference Center. This was an orphanage site earlier, the Happy Valley Orphanage, until flooded about 35 years ago. It's been i, summer conference center going on 20 years.
Generally, except for this and the Franklin Memorial Library, not much new and large has been added to the Lisle scene since Bert Franklin was a boy.
The Lisle Academy on the main street like the library, is being dismantled. The bell was rung in the belfry there for the last time Saturday, hardly 48 hours before the most famous of its then living alumni died at his home in Syracuse.
The academy came into being the same year H. H. Franklin was born, 1866. He was a Saturday child, horn the first day of September in a little house on the farm of his parents about five miles southwest of Lisle.
Charles R. Franklin and his wife, Hannah Bliss Franklin, lived there many years, on land along a farm road about two miles south of Center Lisle. There they had three sons and three daughters who lived to maturity.
The father had been a teacher at Cortland before marrying. There was what is known as "the log house" on the farm when they went there. The children were born in another house, close to the present one identified as the old Franklin home. The structure of childhood years in the life of the family is gone, succeeded by quite a modern farm residence.
The place is now owned by Samuel Altavilla, who moved up there from New Jersey with his family. They are occupying the larger, newer house that was built and added to in years when the Franklin family had grown up. The original house across the road became a tenant house.
The Franklin barn was one of the largest if not the largest in Broome County. When someone built a bigger barn there was an addition built to regain the lead for the Franklin barn.
The Altavillas, who have children, too, one of them studying for medicine at Syracuse, are bringing the old farm into better working order after a period of disuse. They are going to raise stock.
It was a dairy farm and general farm in the old days. The milk was carried by horse and wagon or sleigh to Center Lisle.
"How I hated to milk cows," Mr. Franklin exclaimed, sitting in the study in his home at 1033 James St. "My father said the cows gave short measure when I milked.
"They were tired from my leaning my head against their sides while I milked, according to father. I wasn't cut out fur farm work and he became reconciled to it. So I set out to earn my way elsewhere."
Down what is now Route 79 the young fellow went. It was Catskill and Ithaca turnpike route, variously called by road names then depending on where you were going, west to Newark Valley, say, or perhaps east to Whitney Point.
Bert Franklin was in his late teens. He had been through the common school grades and the academy, acquiring an unusual education for a country boy of those times.
Lisle people always have set store by books. They adopted in 1843, quite early among the first communities in the interior, the common school system. Their academy 25 years later was attracting boys and girls from an area within a radius of 10 miles or more.
Bert Franklin went five miles to the academy from his home on the Nanticoke Road. He walked often when his father could not spare a horse for transportation.
There are residents in their eighties around Lisle who remember well his trek to school. They say he was very quick in learning, an exceptionally bright youngster.
The Smith boys from Greene, Lyman C. Smith, Hurlburt W. Smith and Wilbert Smith, who became big business men and industrialists in Syracuse later were around his age and some of them went to the academy. Giles H. Stilwell, also noted in Syracuse later in the law, education and industry, came from down that way.
Bert Franklin knew of their ambitions and early success and he wanted to get ahead himself, to amount to something, as they used to say.
His father wanted him to farm, but the boy insisted on going as far as he could in school.
"Father finally became reconciled to it," he said, of his stand against his becoming a farmer.
Later, at the peak of his own career, he honored his father in distinguished manner, establishing and endowing the Franklin Memorial Library at Lisle.
It is a brick building, about 30 feet square, with capacious shelf space, several thousand volumes, reading room and facilities making it a model small town book center.
On a bronze tablet on the wall with a picture of Charles Franklin is a dedication of the memorial to him by his son who hated to milk cows.
The son completing his studies at the academy some 70 years ago set out in the world, to win his own ways. His first job was in a shop in a neighboring town.
"The proprietor paid day wages to the men building sleighs," he said. "My job was sand papering the bodies. It seemed to me that we all took it easy. I talked to him about paying by the sleigh, so much for each sleigh I sand papered.
"It meant more money for me and more sleighs finished faster for him. Soon the other men in the shop took it up and the whole operation was on piece work. I was there for months and he wanted me to stay assisting him in the business. But I didn't think I wanted to be a sleigh-maker, either.
"My father wanted me to come home and I went on a visit. There a cousin of ours, William Franklin, was on a visit at the time. lie was on the newspaper at Coxsackie. It had a job shop attached. lie suggested my going there with him. I did."
As a boy he had gotten out a little newspaper for his home neighborhood. There were only 30 or 40 houses at Lisle and fewer at Center Lisle and the comings and goings of all the neighbors were well known to each other. Still they enjoyed reading what was printed about them by their young neighbor on his home press.
Going to Coxsackie was an adventure. The great world called to adventure. The Syracuse, Binghamton & New York Railroad, now the Oswego branch of the Lackawanna, had been built about 12 years before H. 11. Franklin was born. It ran through Lisle, as did the Catskill and Ithaca pike, built in 1795 and serving as a route for settlers headed from the Hudson Valley and New England toward the Finger Lakes and the west.
Coxsackie had a population of 1,800 people. There were half a dozen churches in the Greene County town near the Hudson River. There was also the newspaper.
The young fellow going there with his cousin learned to set type. lie had to help out with the bills, too, getting advertising, laying out ads and writing for the paper.
It was a busy little place with a hank and an academy, making Bert Franklin feel at home.
There were half a dozen manufactures. And Coxsackie still had some ship-building at what was called "The lower landing." Some of the early Hudson river steamboats were built there.
Mr. Franklin lived and worked about six years there. His cousin owned some interest in the paper and print shop and
through the young man got an interest. The older man didn't like the busines8 end of the operation and H. H. Franklin became the proprietor.
A modest man he nevertheless was openly proud of his news papering ability and told that when he ran the paper it achieved a circulation exceeding that of the county.
But he gave it up there, selling out to seek opportunity up-state. He met a man in Coxsackie, who owned an invention and he bought in on it. He had been thinking of going to Syracuse where young men from back home had made such successes and he came here with the invention, which he named die-casting. H. H. Franklin launched commercial die-casting and was the god-father of the process.
He pioneered in fabrication of aluminum.
Herbert H. Franklin, arriving at the old railroad depot one day late in 1893, held high hopes for fortune here. He was 27 at the time, in good health, determined to succeed.
The future automobile magnate believed there was bright promise to be realized from an invention into which he was putting his money. He had prophetic foresight and Syracuse today is important in the field he opened, modern die-casting.
Here is an entry from his hand-written journal of July 9, 1893, preserved among his papers:
"Met Herbert G. Underwood. He was introduced by Fred Hook at Coisackie. Mr. Underwood mentioned his new process for molding. I gave him encouragement about it."
In those lines is written the beginning of the record of commercial die-casting.
Mr. Franklin, interested in the Coisackie Union, later merged and now known as the News, went to see the Underwood process at the inventor's home in Yonkers. The young newspapeman decided to sell out and join Underwood in promoting what the inventor called "hydrostatic molding."
"I had been thinking of trying newspaper work in a larger place, like Syracuse, Rochester or Buffalo," Mr. Franklin related. "Instead I formed a co-ownership arrangement with Mr.Underwood and came to Syracuse to introduce the process."
Here Lyman C. Smith and his brothers, Giles H. Stilwell, a lawyer, and Alexander T. Brown, an inventor, had come from the same countryside where H. H. Franklin had grown up, around Lisle.
L. C. Smith headed the Smith typewriter business. A.. T. Brown was credited later with inventing the modern typewriter. The Smith Premier, a double keyboard machine with keys for capital letters and small letters, was made here, first in the old Smith gun plant now a Syracuse Ornamental Co. property and later in its own plant in Gifford Street.
"I came to see Mr. Smith," Mr. Franklin said of his original mission here. "My idea was that we could die-cast parts for the typewriter. He was very kind but not especially encouraging. Our process was almost entirely untried or at least unproved."
The newcomer had a handicap. He was not a glib salesman. He had an impediment in speech from a defect with which he was born. All his life it was necessary for him to be pains- taking with speech to be understood.
The difficulty undoubtedly contributed to his success, serving as a spur to his will to overcome the drawback, and making him careful and sparing in speech. He was a master of simple expression and his letters are models of clearness. Undiscouraged by the reception from L. C. Smith, the younger man - Smith was then around 40 - decided to open up shop here anyway. He set up his business with Underwood, and moved into a small place at 241 W. Onondaga St., near Onondaga creek and close to the Smith plant.
Syracuse was still under 100,000 but it was a thriving place. There were steel mills and foundries, flour mills, breweries, clothing factories, shoe factories, bicycle factories, typewriter works, gas works, gun works and the Solvay works among larger employment centers.
Business had not yet gone below Dey Bros. corner in S. Salina St. Clinton Square was a canal basin, dock and market area, with the Wieting Opera House, the Town Clock tower, the Savings Bank building, the Empire House and the old Court House as a background setting.
Across the bridge to the north, Salina St. was busy. Hotel were small and scattered downtown, some with stable yards at the rear. There were trees in Warren St. in the hotel district of today and also in Salins around Onondaga. West Onondage was the fashionable thoroughfare beyond West St.
City Hall was practically new. There was no Carnegie Public Library yet nor Court House on St. Mary's Circle. The old Wealcyan M. E. Church and St. Mary's, as the Cathedral Church was called, dominated the scene.
It was the height of the horse and carriage days, the peak of the nineties. But over in Springfield, Massachusetts the Duryca brothers, Charles and Frank, were running their horse- less carriage around the street, getting themselves arrested for it.
Back here in Syracuse another young fellow, John Wilkinson, two years younger than Bert Franklin, was working out at Solvay. He was the grandson of the first postmaster of village Syracuse. At 21 he had been graduated from Cornell as a mechanical engineer.
As the months passed into years, the Franklin and Underwood association broke up. Mr. Fraaklin explained that his partner was not satisfied to turn out die-castings to sell. He wanted to improve the process.
Convinced that he had a working process, Mr. Franklin bought the other's interest, taking an assignment of his inventor aclaims.
It was a one man struggle in the beginning, the Franklin Company. The earnest young fellow lives on in stories about those days, telling how he pedaled his bicycle to metal suppliers to buy enough material for fresh die-castings to send out for sale.
The first-marketed article was a match-striker, a plate with a hole or holes in it for fastening to the wall, and corrugations on it for the new friction matches or safety matches. They were succeeding the old lucifers or sulphur matches.
"New" and "safety" were the watchwords. "New safety" bicycles were coming in, the low wheelers with pneumatic tires. There was even talk of flying machines although mostly it was thought crazy talk.
An early Franklin die-casting was a euchre score-keeper, a mechanical device for keeping track of the count in a popular card game of the period. Young Franklin hitched his wagon to the nearest star, going it alone.
On Dec. 12, 1895, he incorporated the H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Co., which was the parent company of the later die-casting corporation and handled the automobile manufacture.
John Wilkinson, about the same time, in 1896, became a designer for the Syracuse Cycle Co., in Wyoming St. There noon times he experimented in building a new type of motor, without water cooling.
Johnny Burns, a youngster around the cycle shop, used to hand him tools and he told the helper that it was to be an air-cooled engine. There had been some work done on the idea in France, he said. John Burns, living at 225 Reed Ave., recalls clearly much of the evolution of the idea into the Franklin automobile.
Meanwhile Mr. Franklin had moved his base of operations to the area of the Lipe Shop, in So. Geddes St., near W. Fayette St. This was a famous center for mechanics, engaged in inventing and developing a wide range of devices.
Howard Franklin, one of his brothers, had joined "H. H." at Syracuse. They had a die-casting shop ready to start on a Monday and it burned. They did business for a while at the back of the Lipe shop, until a new die-casting site was obtained farther south in Geddes.
At Lipe's Mr. Franklin and John Wilkinson arranged to go downtown one ~, riding in what was known as the New York Automobile, designed and built for the New York Automobile Co. by the Syracuse engineer. There was a lawsuit over the arrangement and the designer was washing his hands of the whole arrangement.
Syracuse as a bicycle center had an eye turned in the direction of this new form of transportation. This was the more so because bicycle gears were being made here, another A. T. Brown invention.
Mr. Franklin was enthusiastic over John Wilkinson's car. The designer entered the service of the Franklin Company in 1901, serving as chief engineer, and in 1910 becoming vice president.
"I guess I always knew one thing although never putting it in words for myself until I was around 30 years old," H. H. Franklin told a friend. "That was this: The way to do a thing is to start doing it."
It was this axiom that guided him probably in taking up photography and becoming fairly expert in the art. Later in life he became interested in oil painting and gained considerable skill at it. He discovered for himself an ancient proposition: The way to learn to play the violin is to fiddle.
"From the beginning," he said concerning the Franklin car, "It was my aim, in which John Wilkinson concurred, to retain lightness and simplicity of design. We used wood frames and pioneered in use of aluminum to the extent that Franklin was rated the largest user of aluminum in the world."
The first Franklin sold, the one on exhibit in the Smithsonian at Washington, was remarkable for those qualities. The small car building force in Geddes St. had built two other cars, considerably after the pattern of the assembly John Wilkinson followed in his first air-cooled car.
S. G. Averell, the New York sportsman, kin of Gov. W. Averell Harriman, bought the historic car, June 23, 1902. He paid $1,200. It had a chain drive and the engine was mounted crosswise. The four cylinder engine weighing 230 pounds was about one-fourth the weight of the car. The car had jump spark ignition, splash lubrication and enclosed planetary transmission, details mechanics want to know. The gear ratio was twelve to one for low and four to one for high and there was reverse gear as well as the two forward. The steering gear was on the right, with wheel control.
This simple machine and its early successors were built in a four story building at the northeast corner of W. Fayette and S. Geddes St., leased from the Brown Lipe Gear Co. In 1903 the first of the future 18 buildings of the company was erected at W. Marcellus and Geddea St., a five story structure, the cornerstone unit of the big plant now known as the Carrier Corporation Geddes St. plant.
That was the year of the famous Winton trip from San Francisco to New York on a $50 bet by Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson, lately of Burlington, Vt., and his driver, Sewell K. Crocker. They made it in 63 days.
The next year a four cylinder stock car Franklin made it from coast to coast in 32 days, 23 hours and 20 minutes. The triumph of the light air-cooled engine car sent demand for Franklins zooming.
C. S. Carris, a Central New Yorker aoted for skill among early drivers, made the first trip for Franklin, with L. L. Whitman, who had tried it in 1903 for another car maker. Whitman was a prophet and witness of air-cooled performance after his trip in the Syracuse car.
"Clean Score" Carris, as he was known on account of ratings he won in his contest and exhibition runs, made the more thrilling trip with Whitman and other drivers 50 years ago this summer.
Coming from fire-ravaged, quake shattered San Francisco, they wheeled their way to New York in a six-cylinder stock Franklin car in 15 days, two hours and 12 minutes, for the road distance of 4,100 clocked miles.
Carrying two teams of drivers, the big car went over 8,000- foot grades, plowed through trackless desert, traveled 30 miles on railroad ties, and suffered 66 hours of delay, not deducted from the total elapsed time for the transcontinental trek.
Floods caused 10 hours of the interruption in the run. Quick-sand held them up 12 hours. Police interference cost 12 hours. Accident took 32 hours, after the machine went off the road between Erie, Pa., and Conneaut, 0. Carris at the wheel, somersaulted out, suffering only a sprain. The others were unscathed. The flexibility of the car was demonstrated.
Plunging down an embankment and through a creek it hit an abutment. Towed out and back to Conneaut it was running again after comparatively simple, but in those days, time- consuming repair.
This epic is almost as notable as the 1904 run. Roads were still almost unknown in the far West. They had to traverse the terrible Humboldt Sink, a trap extending 600 miles on their course to Salt Lake City. It took them seven day. to cross this American Sahara the first time. Their doughty little car hit a sawed off telegraph pole in a field catapulting both Carris and Whitman over the hood but damaging only a truss-rod under the car. They got the machine off the stump and looked hopefull East to roads.
It had been doubted before the Winton run if any car would ever make such a trip. In 1906 the press of the nation hailed the Franklin. The Scientific American said it was doubtful if any hut a powerful lightweight car could ever equal the new Franklin record.
The achievement took planning as well as doing. Gasoline had to be provided at prearranged pick-up places, for commercial supply spots were almost unknown over wide reaches. Indians and Chinese, among others seeing the cars on their hard route, expressed child-like wonder at seeing carriages without horses.
Such was the stamina of the machine that after completing the transcontinental run in 1906 it turned around for a record run to Chicago.
Operated for 500 miles without any fan, the car nevertheless clipped nearly two hours off the previous record for the 1,000 miles. The Franklin made it in 56 hours.
So Franklin showed the way, with the first four cylinder air-cooled car, the first six-cylinder engine in 1905, the first to use drive-through springs, and in 1907 the first to adopt automatic spark advance. Franklin pioneered sedan or closed bodies in 1913 and aluminum pistons in 1915. Franklin was first to use electric carburetor priming to speed up cold weather starting in 1921 and led in narrow steel pillar body front design in 1925.
The company here had 570 men at work at the peak in 1904 and 1,200 in 1906. The die-casting operation was carried on under a separate corporation name from 1901 on. The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. employed up to 3,200 men.
This amazing enterprise, the lengthened shadow of a man and a machine, Bert Franklin and the air-cooled engine of John Wilkinson, had its bad times, in the money panic of 1907 and in 1910 again when not one car was made in May or June. It was to go a long way and live years yet. It remains an unfinished story. The seed of the idea has germinated in far places.
Col. Charles Lawrence, developer of the Wright "Whirlwind" engine that powered Col. Charles A. Lindberg''s "Spirit of St. Louis" in solo crossing of the Atlantic, credited Franklin cars.
He said in 1928 that air-cooling of airplane engines was rated a mechanical possibility first because demonstrated successful in the Franklin automobile engine.
"I can't understand it," the grand old man of the Syracuse car commented one day, looking into the sunset. He meant the wide-spread awakening of interest in the air-cooled engine. It was fostered some by The H. H. Franklin Club, formed in November 1951 by 10 Franklin fans in California, owners of 39 of the cars.
The national organization with its own periodical has grown manyfold in membership.
"I told my directors I would show them $1,000,000 profit in a short time," Mr. Franklin said. "We saw it realized on schedule. But if we had priced the Franklin lower there never would have been a Ford car."
The triumphs of Franklin cars in transcontinental trips in 1904 and 1906 led on to glory for the air-cooled Syracuse automobile. There were two other air-cooled cars made, some in Syracuse, and some very good machines.
The Franklin outlived them, finding greater public acceptance and getting more repeat business than any other car, sir or water-cooled. It was "The Doctor's Car," above all others because the home practice of physicians 35 to 45 years ago called for an automobile ready to go in all weather.
Until 1935 there was not much effective in the line of anti-freeze compounds. Water-cooled cars froze up pretty consistently in these latitudes. The Franklin also was in demand in the hot dry Southwest.
The saga of the Franklin may never be written although various enthusiasts have collected materials for histories of the man, the car and company. Alexander T. Brown, the inventor, a Franklin backer, Giles H. Stilwell, who handled legal details of organization. Mr. Franklin and John Wilkinson, the engine inventor, many who knew most of the story and knew it best are dead.
John Burns, around Franklin's for 30 years and experimental engineer for years with the concern, now living at 225 Reed Ave., supplies much data from memory. He is technical advisor of The H. H. Franklin Club. He owned Franklin shares, preferred and common, bought at $100 and $50 a share and kept.
He cites air-cooled cars: The Holmes, Canton, 0., backed by Timken; the Knox, Springfield, Mass.; the Fox, Philadelphia; the Metz; Walton, Mass.; the Premier, Indianapolis, and the Frayer-Miller, Springfield, 0., one of the best.
He said he remembers the first Pierce-Arrow he saw, with a DeDion air-cooled engine mounted on the rear axle. It was built into a Stanhope body from Buffalo.
Syracuse cars and trucks, the Chase built by Aurin Chase, in West St., the Century in E. Water St., the Stearns Steamer, the Moyer built in the present Porter-Cable plant, the single Trowbridge built in the West End, the Brown of Alexander T. Brown and the Julian, the $70,000 car built by his son Julian, the Sanford fire truck, the Moore truck are some he called offhand some with air-cooled power plants.
The Neracar, built at the present New Process plant, was an early three-wheeler. After the Franklin went, Carl Doman now Ford Motor Co. national service manager and Edward Marks, no"' Pratt & Whitney consultant, built a Franklin-powered Airmobile, a three-wheeler for Paul Lewis of Chicago. He reportedly paid $30,000 for it.
H. H. Franklin had notable associates in the company. Frank DeCausse and Ray Dietrich contributed fine design. The late William Emmons of Syracuse held the patent on narrow steel front end posts.
Mr. Franklin in his promotion of die-casting soon gave up any idea of fighting infringment of the Underwood patent claim. In fact, it is related that Franklin plant die-casting inventions in the aluminum field were turned over to the Aluminum Company of America as they were hit upon and Franklin paid $1 to the big company for a license to use patents on the inventions.
"We just went ahead die-casting." he said. "We had a head start and we couldn't be fighting everyone cutting in on us.The Aluminum Co., however, could defend the rights.
The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. re-absorbed its sub-sidiary, the Franklin Die-casting Corp., about 1926 and when the parent company was put in receivership the original metal processing business went with it.
That was the fate of both in the Great Depression. The Franklin output in 1929 was pushed up 5,000 above high normal level, to around 14,000. The dealer organization handled the usual 9,000 and the extra 5,000 were stored in warehouses. The company was in trouble.
It was at the top and going over and down at the same time in 1930,1931 and 1932.
All the de luxe cars were on the market with their best, the Classic Cars that are high-priced items among collectors today: Cadillacs, with 16 cylinders, 12-cylinder Packards,
Franklins and others.
The Franklin six and 12 of 1930, with superchargers, were rated among the most refined automobile engines yet developed. But buyers were lacking for $2,600 and $3,200 cars. The creditors were watching closely.
Franklin had large land investment in Franklin Park, hundreds of acres in the Carrier Corporation Thompson Road plant area of today. The volume of the business hit $26,000,000 in 1929 but it was not enough.
In the end the city had a ghost plant in Geddes St. It was used as inducement to bring Carrier here with 1,400 employees to offset the several thousand idled at Franklin's. By odd co- incidence air-conditioning replaced air-cooling both in the plan and in Thompson Rd., which "H. H." had envisioned as a future industrial park for his business and its employees.
The story could run on twice as long or longer but without more effect. Mr. Franklin believed that it all could not be repeated in the same way of achievement. Profits are the secret, he said, and if profit cannot be retained, some different way will be necessary to foster new developments.
The Franklin story is one of great service. In 1918 the company received a large order for airplane parts. It called for $1,000,000 worth of new machinery, and estimated requirement of 5,000 added workers. The Armistice cut off the business, with substantial loss for Franklin,
Mrs. Dorothy Ross, 20 Howard St., Auburn, last girl employed at the Franklin plant, bookkeeping under Roy Tennant, keeps a memento of generosity of H. H. Franklin, a check for $23,000 made out by the manufacturer picking up a deficit for the Billy Sunday campaign.
His endowment of the Franklin Memorial Library in Lisle, his home town in Broome county, was not publicized.
His sister's home at San Remo, Italy, was named by him Castle Lisle. Neighbors here in the vicinity of the Hamilton White home he bought at 1033 James St. and occupied many years knew him. So did men of his business level. But he was not widely known in the city. Many newcomers were astonished to know that he lived here. Word of his death was their first conscious knowledge of him.
But 50 years ago and more the name Franklin was widely spoken. The September day in 1904 when the crew making the first cross-continental Franklin record reached Syracuse it was on a 30~mile run, from Rochester to. Peekskill. That car, hard driven then and many thousand times afterwards, was still running a couple of years ago in California.
In New York they greeted it with a motor parade escorting it from the Bronx downtown. Starting east, coming over the Great Divide, they dropped 1,200 feet in one mile, thrill enough with 1904 brakes. They ran across the desert between spirals rising 50 to 100 feet, above parched land, with boiling springs giving off sulphurous fumes. They passed hours on foot hunting passable trails in the desert to take them to town lights they saw ahead.
An immigrant train driver's team pulled them out of a hole, for 50 cents. Denver delayed them a day and a half with hospitality. At Syracuse they had to have a banquet and make it up in speed on the road afterward. En route they replaced two spark-plugs, repaired a gas tank leak, a front spring and a rear axle driveshaft, all that was necessary.
In the run in 1906 from San Francisco to New York they rode 30 miles over railroad ties between Mill City and Winnemucca, Nevada. They used seven hours going 17 miles in one desert sink. They went into river water over their high wheels. They ran 17 miles on kerosene, speaking well of the Wilkinson carburetor.
They were arrested outside of Buffalo after being delayed more than 30 hours by their accident and they lost nearly 12 hours more satisfying the law.
New York gave them an ovation, horn-blowing, red fire, cheers and a procession to the Astor.
Franklin full elliptical springs stood up. Air-cooling proved itself. Tens of thousands of Franklins followed the trail-blazers. Hundreds of Millions of dollars circulated around here through this enterprise. John Burns says he wouldn't be surprised if there are 1,000 Franklins running around the country yet, although the youngest of them must be around 23 years old and some going on twice that old.
The Franklin story is a great story and someone ought to write it some day. Good-bye, Mr. Franklin. Thank you, for Syracuse.
The portrait of Mr. Franklin and the story of Mr. Frank Early are by the courtesy of the Syracuse Herald - American.
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