Looking for Contact Igniter information

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Well-Known Member
May 29, 2012
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Before there were spark plugs, there were "contact igniters." I am looking for any and all information on how there were (and are) made and constructed. If anyone has any information, either of a historical nature of of modern build efforts, I would greatly appreciate hearing about it.

The reason I am looking for this information is that this system was used in Henry Ford's famous "Kitchen Sink Engine" of 1893. I am working on a project to construct a faithfully accurate reproduction of this engine. I am aware that Leon Ridenour and others have made reproductions, but these depart in various ways from the original design (this is not a criticism of those efforts by any means).

In any case, among other efforts I have constructed a 3D model of the original engine (see photos below). In the second photo, I show a detail (with some parts removed) of the spark igniter mechanism; this is a draft version pending further development.