Flywheel Forum Answers

Spark plug answer/Springfield memories

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I have an answer for Verlin Wendt, about his unusual glass spark plug (April 2006). The plug is a Beacon-Lite. It was made in the 1920s and early 1930s, and gave the owner a visible indication of the mixture being ignited in the combustion chamber: Orange indicated too rich, pale blue to white, too lean and light to dark blue, the cleanest mixture. The plugs were made in different heat ranges and base sizes to fit nearly any engine. They were used in stationary engines, as well as autos and trucks of the era. The base sizes I own are: 22 mm (7/8-inch), 18 mm and 1/2-inch pipe. If there are others out there, I would like to know about them. The Beacon-Lite's are a take-apart plug. If they must be disassembled, great care must be taken upon reassembly, as the glass insulator is very brittle and might fracture if tightened too much.

I also had seen the 6 HP Springfield engine mentioned in the article by Erin Shipps (Saving Springfield, March 2006). My dad took our family to the Kutztown Folk Festival until the 1970s, when he had a severe stroke. I remember the old Springfield on display there, under a large tent, along with other engines. The engine tent was the first place we went after entering the grounds, and my parents always knew where to look if they didn't see me! One thing I remember vividly, was the attempt to start it in, I believe, 1965. Three men in Amish dress were trying to start it, and were having a hard time of it. One man said it was flooded, and the other said the battery was low. Another battery was obtained, the igniter was cleaned, and two men tried to turn the engine over. They both stood on the engine spokes to roll it over top center, and the engine fired early. Both men were promptly launched! Thank God they missed other equipment when they landed, the engine attracted a lot of attention, due to the fact that it let out a tremendous bang when it fired back. After several minutes, the men tried again to start the engine, and it started neat as you please. I often wondered what had happened to the engine, as a couple of years before Dad had his stroke the engine tent was no longer set up at the fair, and many things got very commercialized. We stopped attending yearly in 1974.

Andrew Mackey
26 Mott Place
Rockaway Boro, NJ 07866-3022