carbking

Cow magnets and fuel economy

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A snake oil product introduced in another thread caused me to remember this incident from 1980. Here is the information I have placed on some other car forums. I believe you might find it entertaining:

 

Cow magnets (1980)

 

I am indirectly partially responsible for the great cow magnet fiasco! ;)  My apologies.

A lot of years ago, got a call from a gentleman in Texas that had rust issues in his fuel and was going to take the car to the Pate show in a couple of days for sale, and could I overnight a rebuilt carburetor to him today?

 

Well, the answer was no, but; I told him about the Carter Magna-trap. This was a magnet with a special shape to fit into a Carter glass bowl fuel filter. I have told many enthusiasts about this, and suggested one of the refrigerator magnets like your better half uses to stick honey-do jobs to the refrigerator.

He told me he had a dairy farm, and had several of the cow magnets (cows are stupid, they will eat just about anything, including baling wire....oops, showing my age again  ). If you feed one of the magnets to a cow, the wire doesn't pass into the entire digestive tract (you city folks, use Google, not about to get into the digestive system of a bovine  ) He would make a loop in the fuel line and tape three of the magnets to the loop, hopefully to stop the rust from passing into the carburetor.

About 3 days later he called, and he was laughing so hard, it took about 15 minutes for him to repeat the story. Seems everyone that looked at the engine asked about the cow magnets. After the first few, he started with a story that he continued to embellish as the day wore on. The final story was the magnets created a flux field, supercharging the fuel molecules, and giving almost non-Newtonian power and fuel economy!

 

Well, you guessed it. P.T. Barnum scores again! This even made the Johnny Carson show (remember the "headlines" segment)? Over 300,000 cow magnets were sold in the southwestern United States within a month. Every supplier was sold out, and had back orders.

Here is a link to a picture of the Carter Magnatrap that I placed on my website:

 

http://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Carter_Magnatrap.jpg


Newspaper story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/arch...noredirect=on&utm_term=.19601413ca5d
 

And now you know "the rest of the story"  ;)


Jon.

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I remember it too! Really appreciate knowing the rest of the story... Maybe we should nickname you “Paul Harvey “🤣🤣🤣

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Yup.  bovine traumatic reticuloperitonitis.  It's commonly called hardware disease. The magnets are commonly available. Maybe I'll try souping up  the old cars. You say three to a car?.............Bob

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Someone else made money off it besides the cow magnet folks.

 

I found a two-piece black plastic housing clamped around the fuel line of a customer's early 30's car. Inside each half was a magnet. It was obvious that it was purpose made to be mounted on and incase fuel line sized tubing with the two magnets.  When I asked, the customer explained it was to improve gas mileage.

 

I still get a chuckle everytime I remember it and think about how, the only thing it might improve was the makers bank account. 😁

 

Paul

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58 minutes ago, Bhigdog said:

Yup.  bovine traumatic reticuloperitonitis.  It's commonly called hardware disease. The magnets are commonly available. Maybe I'll try souping up  the old cars. You say three to a car?.............Bob

 

I really should have found out the name of the manufacturer, and purchased some stock, before I posted this thread!

 

Jon.

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28 minutes ago, carbking said:

 

I really should have found out the name of the manufacturer, and purchased some stock, before I posted this thread!

 

Jon.

 

They are only a couple of bucks apiece. My guess is they come from China (like every other damn thing)..........Bob

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Interesting. And nice to hear some of the background story. I remember when that was going around. Having the background I do, I never seriously believed it could make much difference. But being the curious sort I am I wanted to try it. In those days, I was doing a lot of driving in my service truck  building and maintaining communications systems.  I kept a close watch on my fuel economy (which being a truck was terrible!), and wanted to get the magnets, and run a comparison over a few months. But I could not find the magnets anywhere. 

While it could be theoretically possible to increase fuel economy in some similar way? (Truth is that the best we have yet achieved out of fossil fuels is about fifty percent efficiency!) There is practically nothing in common fossil fuels to react significantly to a magnetic field and in any way increase the power delivered. (Don't get me started on this "garbage for gas" we have today!)

Anyway, I never did try it to prove one way or the other. 

An aside, my Dad grew up on a cattle ranch. I know about bovine digestion, bizarre is a word that comes to mind. And yes, swallowing bits of metal can be disastrous to one of the bovine persuasion.

 

Thank you carbking for the "Paul Harvey" moment! (also a P H fan.)

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Back in the first fuel crisis (1973-) there was an extensive study of devices to improve MPG. In the end only one was found to actually help. It was called a "passmaster" and used a vaccuum connection to the engine and an electrical connection to the AC clutch. Floor the gas, vacuum drops, AC turns off. Worked fine with an automagic but had an issue with manual trans turning back on and shocking the system on every granny shift. I wound up using two vacuum delay devices to delay turn on.

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Got curious about my experience posted above and did a web search. It  turned up quite a bit about fuel line magnets. Here's a Popular Mechanics article about them. The rectangular one in the picture is what I found on my customer's fuel line. https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a310/1802932/

 

Paul

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I hadn't seen the Poplar Mechanics article, thanks for posting.

 

They didn't test the one that actually works!

 

Easy to install, as you place one between one's foot, and the footfeed. As long as it doesn't break, your mileage is increased.

 

Available mainly in two designer colours (white, and brown), but other colors are available. I have seen yellow, pale blue, pale green, and blue-green. Others may exist.

 

Sold by the dozen, and relatively inexpensive. Current price locally: $2.39/dozen

 

Jon.

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and the cows do not mind a bit.

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Mooo......

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Those magnets come in different shapes, models, coatings and colors. There was 1 manufacturer who build a little "cage" around the magnet so whatever the magnet caught wouldn't be able to poke the rumen (1st stomach)  of the cow.

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Yep, my father-in-law got caught up in the cow magnet craze back years ago.....he bought a handful and passed them along to all the kids. I never bought into the theory and just left them in my toolbox. Still there. They do come in handy quite often as I have “sausage fingers” and often drop nuts, washers etc into nooks and crannies on the old cars.

 

 

751EFC8E-6484-47AC-8A1D-2E7ED658284E.jpeg

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Speaking of Cow magnets, This was my attempt at Perpetual Motion at a rather young age. Dandy Dave!  

IMG_2594.JPG

IMG_2595.JPG

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3 hours ago, Jeff Perkins / Mn said:
  •  
  • My father was a Surge Dairy Equipment dealer in central CA & had boxes of cow magnets for sale. 
  • My sisters and I played with lots cow magnets exactly like these when we were kids.  
  • Too bad we didn't know we could sell them to the local auto supply store...

 

751EFC8E-6484-47AC-8A1D-2E7ED658284E.jpeg

 

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How about the "tornado" to help with the gas mileage?

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They are called rumen (Mentioned in an earlier post) magnets and are extremely strong. A veterinary tool called a balling gun, is often used to administer the magnet. The rumen is the bovines 1st and largest stomach, also it’s toughest. There are four all together starting with largest to smallest, rumen, reticulum, omasum, abbamasum. My spelling might be wrong. As a person who grew up in a family slaughter house business, I removed many of these magnets. Most times magnets were only used in dairy cattle because of their extended life span. Beef cattle with a normal life span on average of 15-18 months, were not given them because cattle can tolerant some hardware for a significant amount of time before succumbing to the “disease”. Often the hardware will become encapsulated and become an abscess. Many times the abscess will keep any infection from spreading. I personally found one magnet about the diameter of a tennis ball, encased in wire, nails, u-nails, and slivers of metal. It all starts to rust from stomach acids and become a pretty solid ball. I found many things when opening up the stomach (rumen) from coins, rubber balls, and the best one of all, a complete set of ignition wires from a farmall tractor! I know where they were from because I told the owner of the steer, what I had found, and he remarked that he thought the neighborhood  boys had stolen them off his tractor. So there’s a bunch of useless trivia on rumen magnets for you guys.

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My old boss was an ex Marine sergeant that was as they say, "tough as nails" and believe me, you didn't want to get him upset. Out of the 19 guys on the job, I was the only other ex military being a Navy veteran, so we got along well. One day my boss shows up with this magnetic device that will improve his gas milage, that he purchased in an auto parts store, that clipped on the fuel line. He told one of the guy's to install it on his truck's fuel line. After the guy installed it he had the empty package in his hand and we noticed that it stated "improves your gas milage up to 50%. The rub was that his truck was  diesel powered. Everyone wanted me to break the news to the boss, but there was no way I would do it. The boss swore up and down that the device worked great and his milage improved. Well, we just went along with him and let him think so.

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Some more useless cow trivia:

The rumen moves all the time like its massaging the feed that's in there, and if there's a sharp piece of metal it can poke thru the rumen wall and then it can start "traveling" thru the body mostly going towards the heart and lungs. When its arriving there it's a death sentence. 

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11 hours ago, bdc said:

Some more useless cow trivia:

The rumen moves all the time like its massaging the feed that's in there, and if there's a sharp piece of metal it can poke thru the rumen wall and then it can start "traveling" thru the body mostly going towards the heart and lungs. When its arriving there it's a death sentence. 

I did see some wire sticking thru the stomach a couple times and even into the area around the lungs but never enough to cause death to the animal. Of course, we don't know all the reasons an animal would be sent to auction and an animal going off it's feed is a good sign that something is not right. Though they never put magnets in hogs, I saw many hogs with perforated stomachs and intestines. We once butchered 6 market size hogs for the same customer and found all six were full of bamboo teriyaki skewers. The skewers were all through the stomach and gut system and we couldn't believe they didn't die from it. The customer was getting all the uneaten food from a Chinese restaurant and feeding it to his hogs. You would have thought that he would have removed the skewers!!

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