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Franklin Hood Orament


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There are two styles - one for the "Horse-Collar" front cars and a later version for the fake-radiator fronted cars. Which are you asking about?

Thank you for replying to my post. I would like to know the date of both, and were both hood ornaments identical?

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The first style was used on the Series 10, '22-25, it has a curved base to match the hood shape. The second, which is the one most commonly found on ebay, has a round base with a flat bottom and was used on Series 11 and 12, '25 to 28. Look at the pictures of the various years on the HHFC website.

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Your question seems to have been answered. There were two Lion ornaments with VERY diferent mountings.

The "common" style can also be found without it's base as at some point in time Franklin cut the lion from the base, added a cap over the cut-off base and chromed it - some claim it was due to the royalties being too much and the depression taking it's toll on Franklin.

I've seen a handfull of the sawed-off Lions at hershey in the past and wondered if it could be added back to a later flat cap.

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Your question seems to have been answered. There were two Lion ornaments with VERY diferent mountings.

The "common" style can also be found without it's base as at some point in time Franklin cut the lion from the base, added a cap over the cut-off base and chromed it - some claim it was due to the royalties being too much and the depression taking it's toll on Franklin.

I've seen a handfull of the sawed-off Lions at hershey in the past and wondered if it could be added back to a later flat cap.

Most I have seen are the most commonly found style you describe. They don't seem to have been cut from anything but instead have a screw on the bottom.

Why would the Franklin company have been required to pay royalties to anyone for the lion?

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  • 1 month later...

I've been meaning to reply again for a while, but bad time of year to do it.

Anyway - here are pictures of the 1925-28 Lion and the 1929 cap which was made by cutting the lion off at the cap, adding a round domed cover, and chrome plating to cover over the repair. The third picture shows the inside of the cap where you can see it is hollow like the original lion and the cap was a separate piece added onto it. The cap is still marked by the manufacturer (Sterling Bronze Co. New York) but the copyright, which is normally opposite the "Aura Vincit" banner, has been polished to a point where it is no longer legible.

As I understand it, this was done due to the sculptor keeping the copyright for the lion and Franklin, having fallen on hard times due to the depression, did not wish to pay a royalty for each lion produced. I think the 1929 caps have a larger base but are similar in appearance to the flat one (Someone can correct me here - I'm no expert on Franklin cars) and then they started using a stylized wing in 30 on the Airman models.

Regards,

Mark

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Franklin introduced the lion hood ornament as special equipment for the 1924 Series 10-B and as standard on the 10-C through late 1925. This ornament was die-cast from white metal and polished.

The flat-based lion was introduced on the Series 11 in 1925. It is a different design - same pose, but different. These lions were cast from nickel silver and polished. These early lions carry the scuplter's name on the back of the base "1924 DERUJINSKI" . The underside is stamped "STERLING BRONZE CO NEW YORK

In early 1927 and into 1928, the lions were cast in bronze and nickel plated. All the Series 11 and Series 12 lions had the raised arm cast and attached separately.

In the autumn of 1928, Franklin introduced an updated version of the current Series 12 Airman model and called it the Series 12-B Airman Limited. Numerous fairly minor mechanical and cosmetic changes were made to this new model. One was the elimination of the Lion ornament, substituted by the flat-cap that mimicked the lion base, as shown above in the previous post. These caps were cast in bronze and nickel plated - factory drawing #38656. There is no credit given to Sterling Bronze company, so I am not sure where they were cast.

Plain caps were sold to some owners of the early 1928 cars who wanted the updated look. After all, the deCausse design, although arguably still fresh, was three years old. Perhaps some owners of the 1925 - 1928 cars 'sawed off' their lions to look like the new model.

I do not recall hearing that Franklin discontinued use due to royalty issues with DERUJINSKI, but perhaps it is true. Another explanation may be the fact thet chief body stylist J. Frank de Causse had died suddenly in early 1928 and Ray Dietrich was hired to make updates to the Series 12, turning it into the 12-B. It may have been Dietrich's way to clean up the deCausse design somewhat and put his stamp on it. Dietrich designed all further standard hood ornaments for Franklin through 1934.

Since the stock market crash was over a year into the future and the economy was buzzing, it does not seem likely that Franklin would discontinue the lion for cost-cutting reasons. Sales were climbing rapidly at the time.

There is a great story (true) of a Syracuse, NY resident discovering a 'cask of lions' in his/her attic and bringing them to the nearby Franklin meet in the 1970's. The cask was donated to the Club and approx 50 brand new factory lions, wrapped in 1927 newspaper were sold at $50 each!

Tom Rasmussen

Odyssey Restorations, Inc.

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Just to add a little to the foregoing post, (to the extent that one could add anything to the post) the flat based hood ornaments were marked on the back of the base as follows:

Earliest: 1924 derujinsky

later: C 1924 derujinsky

last: DE-PAT-73161

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Thank you to all for your post. This is very interesting. There are several interpretations that could apply to the Latin words on the base. Does anyone know Franklin's intended interpretation?

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  • 7 years later...

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