The Application Of Sumter Magnetos

| November/December 1989

Rex Box P, Bedford, MA 01730

Sumter magnetos were used on many early engines, Fairbanks Morse being one of the most popular. These early all brass magnetos are extremely well made and marked SUMTER TELEPHONE MFG. CO. SUMTER SO. CA. Sometime before 1919, Sumter was purchased and incorporated as the Sumter Division of Splitdorf Electrical Company at 1466 Michigan Ave, Chicago IL. The Sumter name was retained for magnetos made by Splitdorf at their Sumter Division. In many references I have seen, the name Sumter is commonly misspelled as Sumpter.

I was fortunate in being able to locate an early Sumter manual dated 3/19/19. With less than 20 Splitdorf branch houses and service centers in the United States, a couple dozen manuals were sufficient to supply all the centers. Because so few copies were needed, many pages of the manual were hand typed carbon copies. Below is an exact copy as it appears from certain hand typed manual pages dated 3/19/19. It should prove useful to readers who are trying to identify Sumter magnetos and determine their recommended application.


The following is a list of practically all the models of Sumter magnetos which have ever been manufactured, with a brief description of what each one is and how it can be identified:

IMP #10 The original IMP magneto had low magnets, about an inch shorter than the present IMP. There was no magnet band over the top. Current was taken off the collector ring, brush being located in the top plate. Timing marks on the end of the shaft or bearing, long since discontinued.

IMP #11 This magneto was successor to No. 10. Has magnets about an inch higher. Has magnet band over the top, on which is No. 11. Current taken off the collector ring, brush being located on top plate. Timing marks on end of shaft and bearing. Supplied with armature with #22 and #23 wire. Our latest production and repairs have #26 wire. Discontinued about 1916.