mfrank

1915 Cadillac request for information

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I'm writing an article on the history of thermostats. I recently stumbled on an article in the Feb 11, 1915 Automobile that reported on a sylphon water side thermostat that was used by Cadillac that year.  The next earliest reference I can find to water side sylphons is in a 1921 white paper. In '21, the idea was clearly novel, and wasn't in common use. It wasn't until 1930 that the relevant patents for the bellows thermostat was filed.  So the 1915 reference is very interesting to me, as it would likely be the first application of the concept.  I have no access to an example, so I'm hoping that someone out there has either an actual car, a thermostat, or a shop manual and can supply me with some photos and maybe some information as to how this device operated.

cadillac.jpg

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Hi mfrank. If you are not already aware, there is a retired Sylphon engineer, still in Knoxville, TN. home of Fulton. He may well be the greatest repository of human institutional knowledge regarding your topic, as I think he is about 90 years old. His name is Jim Otto, phone no.   865-966-9494. Give him a call. Jim rebuilds the old thermostats for many of us, good price, fast turnaround. Now, I haven't spoken with him for 4-5 years, but I know he has done work fairly recently for some of the guys.

 

Also, thank you for the expert information about aluminum radiators. I can see that you and Jim may have quite a bit to talk about. Best of luck, and do stay in touch ! Welcome to AACA !        -     Carl 

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I found my answer. in a 1920 copy of Automitive Engineering. Cadillac was indeed the first application of a water-side bellows thermostat, although it's a bit odd. The thermostat controlled the cold side, and the always-open bypass came through the head by way of a small tube. The same article addresses the slightly later Packard system, which qualifies as the first controlled-bypass thermostat.

cadillac1 from automobile engineering.jpg

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Many early issues of The Automobile and many other automotive trade magazines/journals are available free full view, up to 1922/23  on hathitrust...

NOTE: they've recently changed their viewing format, and, for me at least, it's much slower, more cumbersome and irritating than their old system, which had been a delight to use...but, that being said, still free and invaluable, so I should be complimenting their efforts rather than complaining...

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Posted (edited)

Here is Dyke's 1920 note about it. Dyke's 1920 is available online at Google Books:

image.thumb.png.002a0ac9f6bc6fec89f56f26fa12ec56.png

 

I'll look up the references now. Note that they say Packard developed it!

 

What is a sylphon? I only ever heard of a syphon, as used in the above paragraphs.

....Update: I looked up Wikipedia. It is an old name for a metal bellows. They say " The sylphon was invented in the early 1900s by meteorologist Weston Fulton (1871–1946), who named it for the sylphs of Western mythology."

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

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This is p. 130 Fig. 2:

Dykes_CadillacThermostat1920.thumb.JPG.266efffb4dc328834c56debbadacc27f.JPGThis is part of Chart no. 61 for Cadillac models 51, 53, 55.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, these are helpful. The Packard application is different from the one I posted. It appears to have a true double poppet thermostat, which is the earliest example I've seen.

 

Sylphons were in use for decades before there were automobiles. First as part of mechanisms for measuring temperature and pressure, and later as furnace  damper regulators. Your 1917 patent is actually a thermometer, even though he refers to it as a thermostat.

Edited by mfrank (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

I have a friend with a 1918 Cadillac that uses two bellows type thermostats.  

 

 

There is one for sale on evil bay...

 https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-1920s-1930s-SYLPHON-GRILL-SHUTTER-THERMOSTAT-PACKARD-CADILLAC-BUICK/392386189682?hash=item5b5c0a1972%3Ag%3Abh4AAOSwxM1dV~VN&LH_Auction=1&LH_BIN=1

 

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)

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