What is this thing?

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I found this "box" that my great-grandfather used to own. It has
three wires. I decided to hook up 12 volts to it because I remember
my grandfather saying it used to operate off a car battery.
Well, I fired it up and it was throwing a good strong one inch spark!
Any metal placed near it would glow with a very faint blue (probably
up to a half foot away).
As you can see in the pictures, it made a 120 volt neon tester glow
from over 5-6 inches away.
The 12 volts was supplied by a transformer that was plugged into the
mains (120 volts).
A few questions:
What is this "box?"
How could it cause the voltage probe to light up without any physical
connections or sparks jumping to the metal? The probe wasn't even
grounded to anything -- it was just laying on the desk.
How many volts does this thing appear to be producing? A rough
guesstimate is fine.
Thanks!
Reply to
aphexcoil
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Your "box" is an ignition coil from a Ford Model T. Originally, it would have operated from either battery or magneto. These cars used four coils, one per cylinder, and a timer that switched each coil on when its cylinder was in the ignition cycle.
Voltage probes don't work on direct contact. Instead, they detect the electrostatic field around a conductor. That's why it glows brighter when you moved it closer to the high voltage wire.
I'd guess it's good for at least several thousand volts. Maybe a Ford expert will come along with a real answer.
Mike
Reply to
Mike Lamond
Model T? Wow! Would this thing be worth anything to a collector?
Thanks!
Reply to
aphexcoil
This is an easy one. It is an old 'penis enlarging' device from the 1930's. Just insert penis into the faint blue area.
aphexcoil wrote:
Reply to
hnmm
It does appear to be an old Ford Spark Coil. I wouldn't run it too long on your 12v source as I believe it was designed to be powered from a 6v source.
Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond
Reply to
Louis Bybee
Thank you -- I only ran it for about a minute total. The box is in remarkably good shape for how old it is. I made the mistake of touching just one wire while and got a tremendous jolt. I'm not exactly sure why since the other wire wasn't in contact with ground. I guess with high voltage, you have to be extra careful with it. I've been shocked with 120 volts but this thing felt more like a sledgehammer against my hand than a "tingling sensation" I received from a hot wire while installing a new switch.
Reply to
aphexcoil
I LOVE it!!!!!! I guess this is what we get when we respond to one of those Emails pushing penis enhancement methods????
Reply to
user
50,000 volts per inch is a guesstimate I use.
Al
Reply to
Al
You can still buy new model T coils as well as lots of antiques. If you find the collector that wants originals - I know a shop with dozens of them I think they wanted 5-10$ each. New ones in wood boxes cost a lot more.
They output a lot of high frequency high voltage and if you take a large clear incandescent bulb and hold it on the HV terminal it will look like a plasma globe. Small vacuum lamps (#47 pilot lamps) show a green fluorescence in the glass so they may be producing some X-rays when connected.
Reply to
default
did'nt work for me.........
Reply to
s

It's a Model 'T' Ford spark coil.
Sorry, but they are not particularly valuable become so many firms are today producing the same things for the antique car restoration hobby.
Harry C.
Reply to
Harry Conover
"aphexcoil" wrote on Thursday (11/12/2003) :
I think the glow will be due to the voltage gradient. One end of the metal will be nearer the HV source than the other and will flow down the metal rather than through the air.
Reply to
Harry Bloomfield
Would one that old have been operating at such a high voltage? (I know the newer coils were upwards of 100 000 Volts; I thought the more original models were at a lowervoltage than 50 kV.)
HR.
Reply to
Rowbotth
And probably with a higher voltage output, as well?
HR.
Reply to
Rowbotth
Your ignition coil is designed to run off of a 6 volt source. It's output voltage is in the range of 10,000 to 20,000 volts. Also the "nastyness" of the spark can be increased by lightly forcing the vibrating arm away from the coil towards the tension adjuster. However contact life suffers from doing this, the same with running it at 12 volts. Be careful, experience has shown me that if you get across one of these things just right you'll be picking your self up off the ground. They do not mess around with disrespect.
Reply to
Alias4me

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