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John Wilkinson

1868 – 1951

John Wilkinson (February 11, 1868 – June 25, 1951) was an American automotive engineer and inventor known for his significant contributions to engine technology, particularly in the realm of air-cooled engines. Born in Syracuse, New York, Wilkinson's inventive spirit and engineering expertise had a lasting impact on the automotive industry.


Wilkinson's most notable achievement was his invention of the air-cooled motor, a groundbreaking innovation that fundamentally transformed the way engines were designed and utilized. His air-cooled technology eliminated the need for liquid cooling systems, making engines simpler, lighter, and more reliable. This invention revolutionized automobile design, as it allowed for more compact and efficient engines.


One of the most well-known applications of Wilkinson's air-cooled engine technology was in the Franklin automobile. As the chief engineer and designer at the H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company from 1902 to 1924, Wilkinson played a crucial role in the development and success of the Franklin automobile. The air-cooled engines he designed and implemented in Franklin cars provided exceptional performance, reliability, and a distinct competitive edge in the market.


Wilkinson's contributions extended beyond engine design. His innovative thinking and engineering skills were key factors in the growth and reputation of the Franklin brand. Under his leadership, the Franklin automobiles gained recognition for their unique technology, advanced features, and superior driving experience.



John Wilkinson
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