The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobiles in the United States between 1902 and 1934 in Syracuse, New York. Herbert H. Franklin, the founder, started out in the metal die-casting business (in fact, he invented the term) before entering the automobile business with the engineer John Wilkinson.

All Franklin cars were air cooled, which the company considered simpler and more reliable than water cooling, and the company considered light weight to be critical in making a well-performing car given the limited power of the engines then available. Franklins were wood-framed and light aluminum was used in quantity, to the extent that Franklin was reckoned to be the largest user of aluminum in the world in the early years of the company.

Franklin cars were technological leaders, using six cylinders by 1905 (a world first) and in 1907 were the first automobiles to have automatic spark advance. They were the undisputed leader in air-cooled cars. Prior to the invention of antifreeze, the air-cooled car had a huge advantage in cold weather, and Franklins were a popular buy among people, such as doctors, who needed an all-weather machine.

The early 1920s saw Franklins redesigned to look like conventional cars, a dummy 'radiator' (actually simply an air intake) at the front of the hood. The Franklin styling was beginning to look old-fashioned compared to other makes.

In 1932 Franklin introduced another first, an air-cooled, 398 cubic inch V12 developing 150hp, installed in the finest automobiles the company had ever built, the Franklin Airman Limited. Unfortunately, this was simply the wrong vehicle to be building after the crash of 1929 and the depression that followed, and they sold poorly, nowhere near to recouping the company's investment. The company declared bankruptcy in 1934.

Car production did not survive, but the company continued under new management and ownership as an aero-engine manufacturer.

Franklin engines powered numerous light planes as well as (thanks to their light weight) most early American-built helicopters. The company declared bankruptcy again in 1975 and its designs were sold to the Polish government; engines based on these designs are still in production.

Thanks to among others.

(thing) by Morven

The Franklin Steam Distribution Company was a maker of advanced steam locomotive valve gear during the 1930s and 1940s. Their designs were all poppet valve gears and two basic designs were utilised.

The Franklin OC (Oscillating Cam) valve gear was driven by fairly short cranks taking their motion from the crossheads (where the locomotive's piston rod that permits purely back-and-forth oscillating motion is attached to the side rod that connects the oscillating piston rod motion to the rotating crankpin).

Unlike conventional locomotive valve gears, in which each cylinder's motion is independent of the other's, the Franklin gear operated the cylinders on both sides, using the motions of both sides (which, thanks to quartering, differ by 90° of rotation) with a complicated system of cams and levers to actuate the intake and exhaust valves on both sides of both cylinders.

The Franklin OC gear was fitted to all production PRR T1 Duplex locomotives, as well as a single New York Central Niagara and some other experimental locomotives.

This Franklin gear worked well but its complexity was a challenge to maintenance crews, especially in the undermanned days of World War II and after, and the location of much of the complexity between the frames made access for maintenance difficult.

The other design was the Franklin RC (Rotary Cam) valve gear. This was very similar to the Caprotti Valve Gear used in Europe, being driven by a rotating shaft taken from the center of the main driving wheel driving cams that actuate the valves. This was less commonly used. Unlike the OC gear, each cylinder's valve gear was independent of the opposite side, and all the machinery was located in easy access above the cylinder. It's not obvious why the RC gear was so overlooked; I personally suspect that its aesthetics were unappealing, with the large spinning shaft on the outside, while the OC gear involved an unobstrusive crank and hidden machinery.