In 1893 Henry Ford was experimenting with the new technology of internal combustion engines. He cobbled together this rudimentary engine from common pipe fittings, some slightly modified and a machine hand wheel used as a flywheel. Since engines were just being developed there were no such things as ignition coils. In Henry’s engine he arranged a couple of contacts, one on the top of the piston and one in the end of the cylinder. He wired these contacts to an electric light socket. When the piston came to the end of the cylinder the contacts would touch and create a spark for ignition. A pretty dangerous arrangement to say the least.
This replica engine was researched and developed by Virgil (Leon) Ridenour 4610 Sunflower Rd. Knoxville, TN 37909. He sells a set of plans, and a DVD showing the steps of constructing the engine all for a reasonable price. He can also supply flywheel castings.
The fuel system is very crude consisting of a modified drip oiler reservoir which supplies drops of gasoline at a rate which must be carefully adjusted to keep the engine happy without flooding or starving. The drips of fuel land on a fine mesh screen below the dripper inside the elbow fitting. The air being sucked in atomizes the fuel more or less into a vapour. Obviously exact and proper mixtures are difficult to achieve.
The replica can be built with a more modern ignition system. I built mine using a spark plug and a common ‘buzz coil” system which delivers multiple sparks. I felt it might serve the engine best considering the poor fuel mixing and the chances of a single spark being successful.