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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 12, 1914

Little Things That Make Starting Easier and Help You Find Trouble.


A Lamp That Does Not Glare and Another Which Sticks Where You Put It.

During the past year a number of new accessories for motor cars were put on the market, many of which were designed for increasing the comfort of the automobilists.  For instance, a new primer, designed to charge the cylinders with a rich, warm mixture for starting, consists of a small tube opening into the gasoline lead and communicating with the intake manifold.  The opening into the fuel lead is controlled by a mushroom valve pressed down by a spring, through which an electric current may be sent, and which also acts as a solenoid coil.  If the circuit is closed by a switch, the spring is heated, and at the same time draws down on an iron core from above, to which the mushroom valve is fixed.  The gasoline thus enters the space heated by the spring.

A gearshift has been brought out which comprises a mechanism operated by an individual pedal for every speed available, with such connections that the depressing of a speed pedal first throws out the clutch, then the gear which is in mesh, and finally engages the desired speed.  A trouble-hunting lamp that may be attached without effort to any iron or steel portion of the car is also a new idea.  The wire feeding the electric bulb is laid about a soft-iron core, which it magnetizes when the circuit is closed.  The electro-magnet thus produced exerts a pull of thirteen pounds, which securely attaches the lamp to iron or steel.

Along the different efforts to produce glareless headlights is a design for electric lamps consisting of dome-shaped lenses of frosted glass which distribute the light evenly around the lamp and make the road ahead of the car light for a sufficient distance to make driving safe.  A small conical lamp at the end of a horizontal staff which pivots on a vertical rod and is turntable to either side at the driver's will is designed to indicate the direction in which the car is traveling, especially to traffic policemen.  The device is installed on the radiator filler cap, and is easily visible in daytime and at night.  The control is by a cable.

A device indicating when the gasoline level in the tank sinks to a predetermined degree is constructed as follows:  A float tube in the tank contains a float, an electric contact is provided in the top of the tube, and an annunciator or bell operated by it is installed on the dashboard.  If the float falls to the point determined, the end of a lever to which it is secured by a string is drawn down, the other end of the lever being thereby lifted to make an electric contact, which causes the annunciator to give a signal.

A device for detecting misfires without running the risk of a shock has also been put on the market recently.  It consists of a long piece of steel held in an insulating handle; for use, the point of the steel is touched to any metal part of the motor, while a portion of the steel which is bent is brought into contact with the plug electrode.  If the engine slows down and loses power, the plug is in proper firing condition; but if the short-circuiting makes no difference, the plug is fouled, or at any rate does not fire.  Sticks of tin-solder are now on the market in 5-inch lengths.  This solder is fused by the application of a match and is of service for aluminum or tin repairs and temporary ones on copper.

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