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Atwater Kent distributor? ID please


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Hello everyone. New member to the forum. I thought this would be the best place to find some more info on this Atwater Kent box I picked up today. I have found other threads on similar things but cant find anything like mine with the shaft out the bottom with a gear on it. I like to know what kind of car this is from... Thanks everyone

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Arthur Atwater Kent, Sr. was an inventor and radio manufacturer. He was born in Vermont in 1873 and passed away in 1949. Mr. Kent's interest in automobiles led to his patent of the modern ignition coil as well as patents and the manufacture of other ignition components. I have a 1915 Saxon automobile with an Atwater-Kent ignition system in it.

Income from his ignition systems enabled him to enter the radio business, where he built very high quality radio receivers, components, and cabinets to house the radios.  They basically shut down in 1936.

 

To give you an example of a company evolving from one product to another, you know the name Mott from their fruit and juices in the grocery store. Well, Mott started out making automobile wheels and axles around 1900.  Look, they are still in business.

 

Believe me I am far from being a know it all.  It's just that some of our predecessors were really something.

 

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My 1917 Maxwell has one of the first factory applied coil & distributor setups. The year before Simms-Huff supplied the magneto and starter/generators for Maxwell. Early in 1917 Simms Magneto decided to go on strike leaving Maxwell with no ignition system supplier. Unfortunately for Simms, Atwater-Kent had just introduced his new coil & distributor combination that just happened to be designed to replace magnetos as a direct bolt on.

If I remember the details correctly Atwater-Kent's closure came about when  the unions were all fighting Ford and GM. They decided to go after Atwater-Kent and being independently wealthy and already paying a decent wage he just locked the doors and walked away. 

 

Howard Dennis

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Edited by hddennis (see edit history)
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Your Atwater Kent unit also looks like the sort of thing early small marine engines sometimes used . Quite a few had a vertical drive "timer", perhaps this unit was also offered as an accessory for marine engines The vertical drive shaft with the bevel gear is not something I have seen many automotive engines set up to drive. By 1910 the horizontal drive magneto was pretty common.

  I doubt such an elaborate device was built just for use on Elmore's, there are probably other application's .  Just not that many with a vertical drive jumping in to my mind.

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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52 minutes ago, C Carl said:

Atwater Kent in its present iteration provides services relevant to old cars. They did a good job rebuilding my gasoline level sender in the tank of my '27 Cadillac.  - Carl

C Carl, has had the same experience as me. They rebuilt several coil & distributor units for Maxwell's as well as 3 complicated and rare Briggs & Stratton cutout/regulator dashboard fuse panels for Maxwell's. Great guys to work with. Check out all they work on:

 

http://www.mykmlifestyle.com/

 

Howard Dennis

 

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I failed to mention mykmlifestyle completely rebuilt the Atwater-Kent unisparker distributor, coil box, and ignition switch on my 1915 Saxon and the coils for my 1918 and1919 Oaklands.  Check out their website.  You will not find a better facility PERIOD.  The quality is second to none.

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