Frank Godwin

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Coca-Cola artwork by Frank Godwin, 1947

Francis Godwin (October 20, 1889 – August 5, 1959), better known as Frank Godwin, was an American illustrator and comic strip artist, notable for his strip Connie and his book illustrations for Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood and King Arthur. He also was a prolific editorial and advertising illustrator.

Mr. Meticulous

Harry the tomcat is an interested onlooker as Frank Godwin works on the four-foot model locomotive of his "New Hope and Solebury Railroad." Many of the parts were cast and machined in his shop. The engine weights 250 pounds and can haul one-ton of weight.

The Zanesville Signal, Sunday, April 20, 1952

Artist Frank Godwin takes his many hobbies seriously and believes perfection is the sign of a craftsman.

"I am," says Frank Godwin, "a frustrated engineer." The noted adventure strip artist might also have added he is a meticulous frustrated engineer. Godwin, now a grandfather, never realized his boyhood ambition of driving an "iron horse," but he has done the next best thing. He has built a four-foot-long live-steam model locomotive--and it works. Valves so tiny they look like they could be crushed by a cat's paw are machined to fine tolerances. The bell rings, the steam whistle has a high scream and the engine rolls on wheels perfectly balanced.

Godwin's relaxation is working in the wood and metal shop on the ground floor of his studio building in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. When he feels in need of a breather, he slips downstairs and goes to work among casting boxes, lathes, power saws and machinery of all types. And, to make a hobbyists mouth water, he has a 1/2-ton hoist running overhead. IN what might be termed spare time during his spare time, the six-foot, two-inch tall Godwin has built a six-inch telescope with an electrical device which makes it follow a star across the heavens, and a self-agitator for developing color negatives.

The exactness in his work, which earned him the nickname "Mr. Meticulous," is also expressed in his adventure strip. When he decides to bring a new horse into his drawings, he first goes looking for one that suits him. Kentucky is his favorite hunting ground. He makes dozens of sketches of the animal selected. Back home, he sculpts a clay likeness of his new character. Then, and only then, is he ready to introduce the horse. When he wants to add a dog or a cat to the drawings, he chooses any one of the 10 dogs and two cats that rule the Godwin household.

Godwin is now building a second locomotive. This one will be 14 feet long. It will take two years to build.

14 Foot Locomotive

From Bucks County Traveler, August 1956:

Nearly finished is the huge, fourteen-foot, working model of a modern locomotive and tender, painstakingly built by famous Solebury artist Frank Godwin.

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