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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Family Franklin: 1920

The Family Franklin: 1920

San Francisco circa 1920. "Franklin auto at Franklin Motor Car Co." Note the Yellowstone Park sticker. 5x7 glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.

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The slanted grille

The slanted grille looks different because the Franklin is air cooled and there is no radiator there, just apertures for air. I'm not familiar with that model, but from other Franklins I would expect a row of finned cylinders like those on radial aircraft engines, with a blower at the front looking just about like the top of your lawnmower's engine ducting air back over the cylinder heads. Franklins made before this one had fake radiator housings so they resembled other cars. This one is a statement of corporate confidence that air cooling was good and proper. Franklin soon folded on the styling and went back to fake radiators.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

The "coffin nose" on this Franklin was not long for the world. Due primarily to pressure from dealers, who wanted a product that looked like other cars, the Franklin was sporting a "normal" looking radiator grille -- though a dummy, the engine remaining air cooled -- by 1924 or so.

The slanted grille

really sets the car off from others. Way cool! Otherwise it's just a common car for the time.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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