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1902 Franklin

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1902 Franklin
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 37,657


This object appears in the following sections:

Smithsonian Automobile Collection — Car collection, 1900-1909

Franklin radiator emblem

Franklin sedan

Franklin automobile
Catalog #: 311,195, Accession #: 143,470
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection
This 1902 automobile is the first Franklin sold and the third one built. It was originally owned by S.G. Averell of Ogdensburg, N.Y., and cost $1200. The H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. bought back the car in June 1916. The Smithsonian bought it in 1937 when the company was liquidated.
Physical Description
This car has a two-passenger wooden body with leather upholstered seats and a four-cylinder, seven-horsepower, air-cooled engine. The car was cranked to start. The angle-iron frame has a 71-inch wheelbase. The engine is mounted transversely at the front of the frame. The front axle and the rear-axle housing, both tubular, support four full elliptic springs. The car has a planetary transmission. The steering wheel is on the right. On the steering column just below the wheel are two levers. The one on the right controls the spark and the one of the left controls the throttle.
Date Made:
New York
Herbert H. Franklin formed the H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1893. Originally in the machine-die business, the company entered the car business in 1902. John Wilkinson of Syracuse designed the Franklin motor car. The company sold about 150,000 cars over the course of its more than 30 years in existence.
Related People, Places, and Events
Herbert H. Franklin
Franklin lived a long life, dying in 1956 at the age of 89. Franklin was a reporter turned newspaper owner turned manufacturer who got into the car business in 1902.

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