An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

1910 Franklin Six at the Riverside Garage on Long Island

To finish out the week, today’s lead image shows a 1910 Model “H” Franklin air-cooled-six-cylinder car that was the flagship model manufactured by the automaker located in Syracuse, New York. Franklin cars often weighed less than most automobiles in their class and featured a flexible laminated wooden frame and full elliptic springs that gave a smooth ride on the rough roads of the day.

Early Auto Reliability Run

This Model H was on a reliability tour on Long Island sponsored by the Brooklyn, New York Auto Dealers Association where it stopped in front of the Riverside Garage in Smithfield to let a passenger out. Organized runs of this sort were common at the time, and a good finish in one often led to advantageous coverage by the press in both newspapers and automotive periodicals.

Learn more about the Model “H” car and view H.H. Franklin’s Innovative and Wind-Cheating Torpedo in an informative earlier post filled with photos here on The Old Motor. The Spooner & Wells photographs are courtesy of the Detroit Public Library National Automotive History Collection.

  • Franklin catalog illustration of a seven passenger Model “H” six-cylinder touring car courtesy of the New York Public Library.



18 responses to “1910 Franklin Six at the Riverside Garage on Long Island

  1. It appears to be a railway bridge to the rear of the building,I wonder what the address was ?

    I would hate to be the car behind that oil plume coming from the rear of that thing !!

  2. In the late 60s,I used to drive a semi thru Long Island,and I would pass “Austie” Clarks museum.
    I always wanted to stop, but being on time restraints ,regretfully ,I never did.
    Seeing how many of Austies saves were from Long Island estates,I wonder if some of the autos pictured might have ended up in Clarks museum ??

  3. the location in Smithtown NY today is at the intersection of 25 and 25a. The garage is gone but the elevated train tracks remain

  4. Love the site.
    I grew up in the fifties.
    My first car was a used 1952 Chev Bel Air with Power Guild.
    I was a sophomore in high school.
    Over a hundred + cars later.
    I’m looking at cars that I once owned pictures from your web site.brings back memories.
    Thanks John

  5. I see painted on the side of the garage, “WE SELL THE BRUSH” which as I recall was also marked by a wooden frame, axles and wheels. It was quite innovative with the engine running the reverse of other engines (the designer felt that was safer for a right-handed person to crank) but was in a light car market that Ford was beginning to dominate. I can only wonder if any Brushes were in that gaggle of motors on the reliability run that day.

  6. It is interesting that in that era they just parked up in the middle of the road. There was obviously no fear of other cars coming along wanting to pass through.

    Here in NZ today foreign tourist do just that anywhere there is view to take a picture of, with no regard for anyone else who might be coming along, even if it is a main through road.

    • Quite possibly the Franklin driver tossed out that guy from the rear seat becasue he was sick of the comments from the ” Back-Seat-Driver”

  7. Posted for Ace Cenek: The only Franklin on the tour was used by some of the officials running the contest along with three other official’s cars: a Hayes, a Locomobile, and an Acme. Altogether, 30 cars were placed into six different classes, and there was also a noncompeting Tourist Class with nine cars.

  8. That photo of all of those cars at the Riverside Garage is quite famous in Smithtown, Long Island. In fact there’s a copy of it inTown Hall right next door. Also, the Nissequogue River flows right past the garage.

  9. Has anyone ever noticed that the men & boys of the era apparently would not be seen outside without a cap or hat of some type ?

  10. Another significant feature of the Franklin Automobile was that it had a reliable air-cooled engine — with direct drive for its Blower-fan . Fully elliptic springs are a mark of early quality coachwork suspension design — brought forward from the most expensive horse carriages of earlier centuries., as the same dirt roads had the same problems! for the cars in the photo! On the other end of the “springing spectrum” were (at least) the N,R,S,T, A, AA Front, B, BB Front ,V-8 to 1948 (approx.) Quarter Elliptical set of: Four springs : Although it “looks like” two springs, in actuality, it is four springs, as each transversely mounted set with a robust center clamp —making “2′” spring “sets” perform as four! All is okay — unless the center clamp is allowed to loosen —typically shearing the “center pin-bolt —causing dangerous slippage, — or at least: very weird handling!!! The Fords were very light, compared to other cars and the quarter elliptic spring sets were partly responsible for this significant weight savings! Keeping the “spring sets” center clamps firmly tightened was equally as important as keeping the rear axle nuts tight. The little Fords could slog through thick mud where other (way more expensive & heavier cars would easily bury themselves! The N,R,S, T & TT also had the Pedal operated Planetary Transmission. This allowed for the ability to “rock” the car -” to and fro” – to assist it in escaping from slithering thick mud ! Many Farmers were able to rescue the larger cars by utilizing teams of horses, mules, and oxen. In 1954, my dad was rescued in Mexico , by asking for a tow truck , – and being towed by a team of oxen ! The broken steering knuckle was expertly repaired by the town’s Blacksmith . who forge welded it ! Many “Smithy shops” remained in business “after horses”, – to repair cars & trucks of manufacturers that didn’t invest enough in making them with top quality metal alloys! Henry Ford knew better than that !!! The evidence is in my driveway, still active, after 87 years of “slogging”. Edwin W. , “Country Roads ” W.V.

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