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1912Staver

Mystery early four-cylinder timer/distributor

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Anyone have an idea about this teens distributor? No makers name or any numbers. Possibly even pre-1910 as it seems to be a timer for a coilbox.

 

Roller contact enters from the side and is adjustable for correct contact with the "cam" for lack of a better word. I doubt it is marine as it is mostly aluminum which would corrode in short order. Unfortunately I do not have the cap.

 

It came from a swap meet several years ago in the Pacific Northwest. Oiler has no name either. A bit of a head-scratcher. It does not appear to have a provision for any manual advance, just a bit of static timing adjustment.

 

Greg in Canada

 

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DSC_9235 (3).JPG

 

DSC_9236 (2).JPG

 

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Four lobes on the cam indicates four cylinders. As it has one set of breaker contacts it would have worked with one ignition coil to send spark to the center of the distributor cap for distribution. Thus a distributor.

 

A timer would have one set of contact points for each coil as the coils are each attached to one spark plug. No high tension distribution occurring in a timer and coils set-up.

 

Hope this helps.

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Thanks Layden, that makes sense . I guess it was the roller contact that was confusing my dim idea of timer construction and function. I need to have a closer look at the Ford Model T engine I have in storage.

 

This seems like a very odd distributor. The "points" are not present in a conventional way. The unit seems to conduct through the roller and ground through the cam. I have not seen a distributor built like this before. The contact arrangement is partially damaged/missing and perhaps there were contact points built into it that are now missing. It doesn't make much sense to conduct electricity through the roller contact. Actually a spring-loaded ball bearing.

 

Greg

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3 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

t doesn't make much sense to conduct electricity through the roller contact.

 

 

Well, that's how Ford did it on the Model T and some of the pre-Ts.

Although, everyone and his brother wanted to "improve" the Ford timer design, thus the literally thousands of aftermarket Model T timers that almost all used something different to make the contact. Below is the basic Ford timer design used on at least fifteen million cars.

 

timer.jpg

 

I can't comment from personal experience but a lot of T guys swear by the so-called 'New Day" timer, which uses the spring-loaded brush-style contact below with a timer cover to match.

 

brush.jpg

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Thanks for the information. Layden's comment points out why my unit is a distributor and not a timer. I had grown fuzzy about how timers work . For my unit to work as a timer it would have to have four connections to power the four coils of afour-cylinder engine coil box as does Model T units and other timers.  Whatever my unit is it appears to be quite unusual.

 

The New Day conversion does seem to have advantages over the stock Ford timer. I have an Atwater Kent distributor conversion for a Model T. If I ever get to the point of putting the T project together I might try it out.

 

Greg

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