Henry Ford completed his first successful working gasoline engine

Sunday 24th December 1893

Henry Ford completed his first successful working gasoline engine. At the time Ford was chief steam engineer at the main Detroit Edison Company plant with responsibility for maintaining electric service in the city 24 hours a day. He and his wife tested the small one-cylinder engine in their kitchen. He cobbled together this rudimentary engine from common pipe fittings, some slightly modified and a machine hand wheel used as a flywheel. Since engines were just being developed there were no such things as ignition coils. Ford arranged a couple of contacts, one on the top of the piston and one in the end of the cylinder. He wired these contacts to an electric light socket. When the piston came to the end of the cylinder the contacts touched, creating a spark for ignition. The fuel system was very crude consisting of a modified drip oiler reservoir which supplied drops of gasoline at a rate which had to be carefully adjusted to keep the engine happy without flooding or starving. The drips of fuel landed on a fine mesh screen below the dripper inside the elbow fitting. The air being sucked in atomisd the fuel more or less into a vapour. Obviously exact and proper mixtures were difficult to achieve.

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