Associated Hit & Miss Engine
Ignition Systems.

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The Associated Magneto, a bundle of spinning mystery, only to be out done by the igniter. So it seems a little research and explanation is in order. If nothing else, I hope the following helps to put some doubt to rest and answer some questions that some may never have even thought of yet.

The patent for the four bolt* magneto, built in house by Associated Manufacturers Co., was issued on December 1st 1914. as patent number 1,119,105. That patent was applied for on March 25th 1912. Therefore I think it is pretty safe to assume that the engines built and sold before the March 25th 1912 patent application was made, were sold with a battery and coil make and break type ignition. Other than a possible Webster set up, no magneto was available to provide spark.


Here is a photo of the patent date on the 4-Bolt style magneto: Here is a photo of an early magneto stamped with "Patent Applied For":


This being true, the correct ignition on an early Associated engine would be either battery and coil or possibly a Webster and I have never seen anything in print to suggest that the Associated offered a Webster magneto as an option. Known examples were probably dealer installed.
Also I have never seen an original friction drive dynamo style ignition on an Associated built engine such as you may see on an International Harvester Co. engine. An Associated engine that has a Webster magneto type ignition does not automatically make it an early engine though. Webster style ignition is commonly found on later model engines exported to both Canada and Australia.

Another magneto design by Associated Mfr's Co. was issued a patent on September 21st 1915, as seen on the later style two bolt* magnetos. The patent number given to this magneto was 1,153,944. This magneto was also built in house by Associated Manufacturers Co. and this later style two bolt magneto is the same as furnished on the John Deere Co. 1 ˝, 3 & 6HP engines.
* “Four Bolt” and “Two Bolt” refers to the number of bolts used to attach the magneto to the magneto bracket.

The John Deere factory, formerly the Waterloo Gas engine Co. was situated very close to the Associated Manufacturers Co. facility. Here is a map showing the two locations and also the proximity of the William Galloway Co. facility and the Headford & Hitchens foundry facility. One known connection between the Associated and John Deere companies is that Associated provided the magnetos for the John Deere built engines and the kerosene twin cylinder engines that powered the Waterloo Boy tractor, sold by John Deere after the Waterloo Gas Engine Co buyout, were offered as a stationary engine by the Associated Manufacturers Co.. Perhaps a trade was made and when the John Deere Model D tractor was introduced and production of the Waterloo Boy tractor stopped. Maybe Associated traded to John Deere their in house built magnetos for some surplus twin cylinder Waterloo Boy kerosene engines. Without more research, who knows?


Here is a photo of the twin cylinder engine on a Waterloo Boy kerosene tractor. Here is an advertisement for the same engine as an Associated 25HP kerosene twin cylinder stationary engine.
Magneto Drives
The most common drive found on an Associated engine equipped with a magneto is the direct drive with a bevel or skew intermediate gear. This magneto arrangement is a thing of fascination for most on lookers as the direction of gearing is shifted 90 degrees. The earlier style of magneto drive gearing was a direct linear drive with no skew gear but this arrangement, especially on the smaller engines such as the air cooled Chore Boy engine, created a problem with the body of the magneto and bracket occupying the same space as the sheet metal crank guard. A severe bend to clear the magneto bracket had to be made in the crank guard. This problem was solved by using the skew drive and turning the magneto out of the way of the crank guard.
Igniter Styles
When the magneto powered ignition was first introduced, it was a $10 option. Standard ignition was low tension make and break with a battery and coil. Later models came with the magneto as standard equipment. The rotary magneto that Associated Manufacturer's Co. designed and built to be used on their engines depended on speed to increase spark performance unlike a Wico or Webster magneto which when tripped produce a strong spark even with low engine speed. This led to the introduction a seldom seen option of a dual ignition source style of igniter.

This igniter had a provision for both battery and coil ignition as well as magneto. This gave the engine a good hot spark, via a battery and low tension coil at the slow speed of start up and after the engine was running up to speed the operator could switch the ignition source over to the more efficient magneto ignition and not waste costly batteries. This was done by moving a brass knife switch from one source to the other right on the igniter itself. I think the complexity and cost of the production was this igniter's demise. A catalog I have shows it being used on all engines from the Johnny Boy right up to the 18 Mule Team. The much more common way found to switch the ignition source on engines equipped with two sources is a knife switch in the battery box. This dual power source igniter is only one of several types that can be found.

The Associated igniter went thru several design changes and even though designed to work on all flywheel engines 1 ˝ HP and up, not every igniter will work on every engine. Buyer beware! That is why I am here to clear all this confusion up. The first igniter offered had no locating pins and just relied on the snapping action of the tension spring on the rotation shaft to make and break the ignition. I don't think this worked very well, leaving to chance the points resting in the closed position and heating the coil up, as shortly thereafter a small bump was added at about the 7'oclock position of the igniter body and a tiny pin was added to put a spring on to hold the position of the points “open” while the engine was coasting.

This spring and pin is different than most seen on the typical igniter. The spring in the relaxed position sets the points gap and insures the gap re-opens after ignition. This system is also a bit maintenance prone since if the spring stretches out, it will tend to close the gap. Notice in the photo the clamp does not rest on the pin!


This was all solved by the careful placement of what I call the locater pin. A small spring holds the clamp on the rotating shaft against the pin and holds the point gap true. This style is the most commonly seen. Typically there are two of these pins one on the left and one on the right. The left pin holds the points open the right holds them closed. I have always run my engines with the points open.

When the igniter trip style was changed in 1916 it created a small problem with the igniter. The older straight trip pushed on the igniter at about a 30° angle and the new improved trip pushed straight across. Therefore an igniter from a straight trip style engine will not work with a “goose neck” style trip. To remedy the situation, the location of the locater pin was moved closer to the rotating shaft. So if you are looking to buy a used igniter, be sure to match the igniter to the style of trip that you have. The easiest way to tell what type of igniter you are looking at is to hold it with the bolt holes level with the floor. The surface that the old style straight trip pushes on will be at an angle and the surface that the newer style “goose neck” trip pushes on is straight up and down.

The older straight trip pushes on the igniter at about a 30° angle The new improved trip pushes straight across.

One other style igniter that is not seen so often in the United States but deserves a mention is the kerosene or as the Brits say "paraffin" style igniter. The throttle governed kerosene engine uses a long reach igniter that put the spark closer to the piston. Throttlers are much more common in the UK than here in the US. I don't know if this design made any difference in spark quality, but it did give the rotating shaft of the igniter much more of a wear surface. This was probably a good thing since the igniter was tripped once every 4 cycles instead of once in a while during hit & miss style governing.


©2006 KSmigle