ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Spark that Ignited a World

Updated on May 17, 2016

Here’s a hot topic most don’t think about, until they have to. Spark plugs. We all know they are used to ignite the gasoline and air mixture in an internal combustion engine. But there seems to be a bit of confusion concerning who invented them and when?

Etienne Lenoir, (January 1822 - August 1900) a Belgian inventor who devised the first commercially successful internal combustion engine in 1858, is generally credited with the invention in 1860. Other sources say it was Sir Oliver Lodge, (June 1851 - August 1940) a pioneer in science and technology who invented the electric spark plug called the "Lodge Igniter," although he was better known for his pioneering work in radio.

Later, two sons developed his ideas and in 1903 founded Lodge Bros., afterwards known as Lodge Plugs Ltd. In any case, there is a long list of notables who contributed to the development of the modern day spark plug.

Today’s plug came about as an answer to problems with early flame and igniter ignitions. It should be noted also, early gasoline was not as refined. It was more like kerosene in those days.

Throughout its evolution there have been a number of materials used as insulation materials. Some of these were mica, stone and a variety of porcelains undergoing phases of improvements. Many early forms of porcelain could not withstand the extreme temperatures needed. Some were porous and absorbed oils and grunge easily, making their life short lived due to fouling out.

Quick Detach Plug

Researchers continued to be plagued searching for answers to the temperature and fouling dilemma until 1915. That’s when the Frenchtown Porcelain Company developed a new formula called “775″ porcelain. It absorbed less oil and could handle extreme temperature changes.

The next major improvement was the discovery of silimanite in 1933 by Dr. Joseph Jeffery that greatly extended a spark plug’s life. However, before a product can be properly marketed, it has to have a better selling point than its competitors. The spark plug was no different.

Over the years, companies have tried to come up with unique designs to outdo the competition. Some of these designs were indeed unique. Such as:

The Quick Detach Plug – By turning a lever on the plug, it could be quickly removed for cleaning or replacement with no tools needed.

The Double Ended Plug – Had plugs on both ends which could be turned over and used when the other end was fouled.

The Priming Plug – Allowed a small amount of gas to be injected into a cylinder for easy starting

The Breathing Plug – Allowed cool air to be sucked over the hot end of the porcelain, helping to keep deposits from forming

The Coil Plug – The coil and the plug were a one piece unit

Intensified Plugs – Had a dual firing gap that promised a plug would “fire hotter and longer.”

Today, there is a nonprofit international organization dedicated to the promotion of spark plug collecting, research and preservation of spark plug history. It’s the Spark Plug Collectors of America Inc., (SPCOA) founded in 1975 by Bill Bond of Ann Arbor, Michigan.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      It’s the Spark Plug Collectors of America Inc., (SPCOA) founded in 1975 by Bill Bond of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting Hub. I wonder if there is a collector market like there is for electrical insulators?

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I believe there is one Edison light bulb still burning from the originals. Are there any original spark plugs still in use?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)