Car Spark Plug
Car Spark Plug
US 345596
Gottlob Honold

The automobile is undoubtedly one of the greatest human inventions. This important historical invention completely changed the way of life of societies by changing the customary rules of handling and transportation (usually by cattle). Although the original ideas for using mechanical equipment for transportation can be attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton, the first self-propelled vehicle was built in 1769 by a French engineer and mechanic named Nicolas Cagnat (Nicholas Cugnot).

That was a huge, heavy, steam-powered tricycle and was initially used by the French military to carry military equipment at two miles per hour!


Despite constant developments by Cagnat, and the introduction of a four-passenger passenger version, almost all scholars and historians cite Karl Benz as the inventor of the automobile. The German engineer invented the first successful and practical car with a gasoline combustion engine, and from this point of view, his innovative car can be considered the starting point of the automotive industry. Since then, the automotive industry has been growing rapidly, and nowadays electric and hydrogen vehicles are being marketed by various manufacturers. The turning point of innovation in this industry can be considered as self-driving cars, which, by using sensors, artificial intelligence, and other new communication technologies, make it possible for the car to move without any human intervention.


Despite all these advances, internal combustion gasoline vehicles are still used as a nostalgic and efficient technology. The engine of these cars consists of hundreds of small and large components that interact with each other to ensure the smooth movement of the car. Accordingly, it is true that Carl Benz is considered the inventor of the automobile, but each subset of the automobile, especially in the engine as its beating heart, is a separate invention. A simple example of this is car spark plugs.


Spark Plug is one of the main components of any car engine that is responsible for igniting and, in a way, lighting the car. It consists of an electrode, insulation, and several washers that are located on top of the combustion chamber and cylinder of the car and, using a high voltage of electricity and ignition, causing the explosion of compressed gasoline vapor and provide the necessary force to move the car.


Studies show that the development and evolution of car spark plugs have been done by several inventors. Etienne Lenoir was the first person to use an electric spark plug in his first gas internal combustion engine in 1860. He filed his invention in the United States in 1886, which resulted in the grant of a patent number "US 345596" by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


In the following years, several patents were filed by various inventors on the subject of car spark plugs, including the patent number "US 609250" owned by Nikola Tesla, the patent number "GB 24859 for owned by Frederick Richard Simms, and the patent number "GB 26907" belonging to Robert Bosch. However, the invention that was first used commercially as a high-voltage spark plug in an internal combustion system was a spark plug invented by Bush engineer Gottlob Honold. An invention that could revolutionize internal combustion engines.


Honold, an engineer at Robert Bosch GmbH, came up with the idea of ​​developing a magnetic ignition system in the late nineteenth century. Combustion was the most complex problem for automakers in the design and construction of cars, which was still in its infancy at the time. With Gottlieb Daimler's innovative combustion tube, there was a constant risk of fire, and the ignition systems based on it somewhat could limit the car's battery life. It is interesting to note that at that time, there was no system like today's dynamos to recharge the battery while driving.


In 1897, hopes for a solution to this problem increased. Arnold Zähringer, director of the Bush plant, came up with a new solution based on the power of magnetic magnets. This interesting invention solved the problem of the internal combustion of the engine theoretically. But it still needed to ignite the combustion chamber. The high voltage spark plug considered by Gottlob Honold was part of the same project that completely solved the ignition problem. The idea was filed as a patent in Germany on January 7, 1902, and due to the commercial value of the invention, its sought protection in other countries.


The result of this extensive protection was the issuance of "GB 190202736" certificates by the British Patent Office, "FR 333315" by the French Patent Office, and "US 802291" by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To better understand the commercial value of this invention and its market opportunity during World War I, consider that the production of approximately 50,000  car spark plugs by Bush between 1897 and 1902, increased rapidly and reached an astonishing record of one million spark plugins in 1912. It is true that car spark plugs were just a byproduct that Bosch offered to complete its combustion system, but they themselves became a valuable and commercial product. At present, the company produces and markets 300 million spark plugs annually.


It should be noted that in some sources, a person named Edmond Berger is mentioned as the first inventor of the car spark plug. However, there is little information about him and it is vague around the history of the invention attributed to him. Burger is said to have invented the first car spark plug, in 1839. At that time the development of internal combustion engines was in its infancy stage and, in other words, was not yet existed. From this perspective, this attribution cannot be taken too seriously.