Saturday, October 08, 2011

Spark plug collection was on display at the annual Santee car show (which was bigger and better this year)

 Some very cool innovations in spark plugs were tried in the first couple decades of automobiles
 the one on the right is a primer plug.. you'd drip a little fuel into it to help it start... because fule pumps hadn't been invented yet. Fuel tanks were gravity feeding the carbs, which were frequently low on the side on the engines
here is the advertising for the primer plug
 This mirror is helping to show the fan that the designer thought would help cool the spark plug... but it wasn't very well attached and fell into the cylinder often enought to bankrupt the company in lawsuits.
 here are a variety in electrodes
 the above at left are both mica... because no one had perfected porcelain.. and now the material (according to Wikipedia) in sintered alumina.
The middle has another variety of electrode
 the long electrode was near enough to the piston to get a spark... how I don't know, as the piston to con rod is oil film insulated, and so is the con rod to the crank, and also the crank to the block. So how the electricity in the ignition was working is a mystery to me
 terrific variety

For other spark plug collections: look in the first dozen photos in Jim's post

and a smaller collection display at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista 

But Marty made an incredible display, here is 1 of 3 panels


  1. Hey Jesse the long plug that sparked the piston would get a ground path through the piston and rings into the cylinder walls. I imagine erosion over time.

  2. Marty has done very well to get the boxes for the spark plugs - they would normally be thrown away as soon as the plug was removed.

    1. I'm in love with Marty's displays. Did you click through and see the other ones? This one is the prettiest of course... those boxes are simply cool

  3. Jesse,

    Yes I did. The whole "automobilia" area of collecting is very interesting - you could build up a reasonable collection for a lot less than what you would pay to buy and restore a car.

    1. yup, every year I try to see what the coolest thing I can buy for under 20 bucks at the annual swap meet at the stadium. It's the largest parking lot west of the Mississippi I've heard

    2. oh, don't get me wrong, I've only got 3 or 4 things so far.... I couldn't afford the 20 bucks until the last couple years. Well, afford is the wrong term, be willing to spend 20 because though my credit card debt ain't getting any lower, I'm not getting any damn younger.
      I found a Chrondek timing light for 20!