Firestone Polonium Spark Plugs

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2018: Firestone Polonium Spark Plugs
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Saturday, April 07, 2018 - 11:59 am:

I see on the "whatcha doo-in ?" thread Steve Jelf has just installed new, pink, (PINK ?) Firestone Polonium spark plugs.

What draws me daily to these boards is the opportunity to learn all manner of really interesting things that spring from our attachment to Model T. What the heck is Polonium ??

Well, it's the first radioactive element Marie and Pierre Curie identified in 1898 in their studies of pitchblende . . . unstable, radioactive with a half-life of 138 days, apparently has no specific use, although it did ultimately figure in the development of the "Fat Man" atom bomb at the end of WWII. Much later, it has served to provide heat in space probes. How cool is this ?

My question is, when did Firestone market their "Polonium spark plugs", what was the perceived advantage, and did the public respond to what was most likely nothing more than advertising hype ?

An aside, Marie Curie chose to name the new element "Polonium" after her native Poland (aka Polonia) as a sort of political statement - at the time, Poland was partitioned among
Russia, Germany and Hungary, and of course, there was great sentiment for unification . . .


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Darel J. Leipold on Saturday, April 07, 2018 - 12:42 pm:

I have a variety of these NOS plugs. I will list some soon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George Andreasen on Saturday, April 07, 2018 - 05:45 pm:

I don't know the answer to your question, but I really suspect it was nothing more than an advertising gimmick. You know, kind of like Whiz Bang laundry powder contains a "secret ingredient".

There were many such terms and names used for products before the "truth in advertising" laws shut them down. Too bad, as some of them were pretty creative!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George John Drobnock on Sunday, April 08, 2018 - 05:37 pm:

Radioactive Spark Plugs (ca. 1940s) (https://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/sparkplugs.htm)

The idea for a hot sparking plug started here - “Internal Combustion Engine Spark Plug” (1,723,422), was filed Feb. 11, 1924 - ALFRED I. HUBBARD, OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, ASSIGNOR TO RADIUM SPARK PLUG CORPORATION.

INTERNAL-COMBUSTION ENGINE SPARK PLUG.

Application filed February 11, 1924. Serial No. 691,977.

Hubbard wrote in his patent description, "My invention relates to the art of spark plugs. More articularly, my invention relates to a spark lug the terminals of which, that are dispose within the cylinder of an internal combustion engine, are provided with radium for ionizing the space between said terminals." (https://patents.google.com/patent/US1723422)



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