Cover image for The Franklin automobile company : the history of the innovative firm, its founders, the vehicles it produced (1902-1934), and the people who built them
The Franklin automobile company : the history of the innovative firm, its founders, the vehicles it produced (1902-1934), and the people who built them
Powell, Sinclair.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Warrendale, Pa. : Society of Automotive Engineers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xix, 484 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"Prepared under the auspices of the SAE Historical Committee"--P. [i].

"SAE order no. R-208"--T.p. verso.
Two men and an idea -- Entrepreneurship and vision: the birth of a new organization (1901-1905) -- Technical progress in a growing industry (1906-1910) -- Maturing company (1911-1918) -- Postwar era (1919-1924) -- Tempo of the twenties (1925-1929) -- Years of decline (1930-1933) -- Demise of the company (1934-1940) -- People who built the cars -- Leaders of the organization -- Inside the company: management, marketing, and engineering -- Summary.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL215.F85 P68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This book examines the history of the H.H. Franklin Company, which made significant contributions to the American automobile scene during the first third of the twentieth century. From 1902 to 1934, Franklin produced high quality, luxury cars, including America's only truly successful gasoline-powered motor car incorporating an air-cooled engine. Based on extensive research, author Sinclair Powell tells the story of the partnership of Herbert H. Franklin, skilled in business, advertising and public relations, and John Wilkinson, the engineer and designer who developed an automobile which was a pacesetter in its day. The book also describes how the Syracuse-based Franklin Company was a pioneer in research, production and employee relations. Covering the company's glory years, and its decline during the Depression, The Franklin Automobile Company, also humanizes the story via the reminiscences of surviving employees of the firm.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a wonderfully researched and written history of the Franklin, an often forgotten but important automobile. The people, the places (Syracuse, NY), the innovations, the successes, and the failures are all reported. The Franklin, America's premiere air-cooled engine automobile, was part of the automobile industry from 1902 until 1934, a period that saw vehicle ownership grow from 20,000 in 1902 to 24,881,000 in 1934, a fascinating time for the industry and the US. Unfortunately, the Franklin, like so many other marques, became a victim of the Depression, the Big Three, and the times (Powell suggests that in the '30s, a considerable amount of discretionary income was being spent for electric refrigerators, radios, power-driven washing machines, and portable vacuum cleaners--therefore less was available for automobiles). This book is nicely arranged with appropriate chapter headings, is well documented, and includes an excellent index. Highly recommended for all automobile history collections and for US history collections as well. All levels. C. J. Myers Beaver College