4 screw brass top coils

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Don ellis
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4 screw brass top coils

Post by Don ellis » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:53 pm

what did the top brass look like originally? polished, painted or dull?

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Rich Eagle
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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Rich Eagle » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:19 pm

After looking at the inside of some I would say a clean metal finish but not polished. Something like steel wool would give it.
Just my opinion.
Rich
When did I do that?


R.V.Anderson
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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by R.V.Anderson » Tue Mar 10, 2020 5:54 pm

None of the above. The clean, new brass was coated with clear ("white") shellac or clear lacquer that didn't protect the exposed metal very long. Definitely not polished. Nor were they painted; some coil tops were given a gun-blue-like chemical treatment (some folks call it 'anodized' but it wasn't that either) that did protect pretty well.


Wayne Sheldon
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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:17 pm

I have read (and believe to be true considering the sources) that originally, they were flat black, some sort of metal coating like gun-metal bluing. Whatever it was, it didn't stick very long and only ones never exposed to the "elements" show any signs of the coating (although I have seen a couple that still did have traces of it). This is part of why some some have a yellow brass top, while others had a copper brass top. Originally, with the "black", they looked alike.

Another interesting background of the brass tops. Way back in the early days of man's manipulation of electricity, it was debated by engineers that the coils would "shoot" electrical energy out their ends and that a metal (non-ferrous) made the coils work more effectively. Although many automobile coils of the day had no such metal top, the best coils generally did. In was in the early days of Europe's world war that shortages of materials such as brass forced automakers like Ford to eliminate some uses of the metal. By the end of the war, the general consensus was that the brass tops did not help the function any and therefore they were not returned into production.

Another linguistics side-note. "exposed to the elements" refers to the four "original elements" going way back. They were believed to be "Earth", "air", "water", and "fire". Hence, exposed to air, rain, sun, and dirt.


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:18 pm

R V beat me to the post (I type slow and got interrupted again). He should know.


Ron Patterson
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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Ron Patterson » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:27 pm

Randall
Very cryptic and obliquely critical?
I am "some people" who use faux finishes.
So exactly what was the "gun-blue-like chemical treatment" that KW used on their (mostly 6 screw) metal top coils that were made in parallel with Ford in 1914?
At this point I am now thinking "black oxide".
Ron Patterson


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by jiminbartow » Tue Mar 10, 2020 7:54 pm

You can get a gun bluing kit in the sporting goods aisle of Walmart or from your gun store. If you heat the item being blued, it will get darker. Do it several times for a nice, shiny, protective black coat of bluing. I once had a nice replica of a P08 German Luger that was made of some type of composite metal. All of the bluing had worn off so when I tried to blue it cold, the bluing would not adhere to the metal at all. When I removed the wood grips and heated the gun in the oven, the bluing adhered to it evenly and looked great. After heating and bluing several times, applying several coats it looked like a professionally done job. They advise to polish the blued surface with steel wool but that just removes the bluing. I get better results polishing with a soft cloth from an old Tee shirt. The quality of the bluing depends on the preparation of the item being blued. The shinier the prepared surface, the better the final Luce finish will look. I use a buffing wheel mounted on a bench grinder and jewelers rouge. Jim Patrick


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Rick_Rice » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:25 pm

Van's Instant Gun Blue
C.S. Van Gorden & Son
Bloomer, Wisconsin
Very easy to apply and instant results.

Ron, the absolute best cold formula gun and metal bluing there is! I have been using it for several decades. You can probably google their web site or purchase a bottle right off of Ebay. It is very inexpensive and you will be happy with the results.

Kind Regards,

Rick Rice


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Ron Patterson » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:33 pm

Understand and thanks.
What was the process KW used, anyone know?


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by R.V.Anderson » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:15 pm

Ron, I wasn't being cryptic nor critical of anyone or anything. I have heard many folks referring to the blue-black on the coil tops as an "anodized" finish, a process used most commonly on aluminum. What I have always figured they meant by calling it anodizing was any process that produced a color on metal by chemical reaction. I don't know what the actual process used by KW was called, but it wasn't a typical bluing process, which is a controlled rusting (oxidation) of steel, nor was it a black oxide, also typically a (hot) steel finish. It seems to be a cross between the two. I went through a lot of research and aggravation trying to duplicate the original KW finish on my new 1913 KW coils. I learned a lot about the different processes, but I never was able to pin the original process down, so in the end I had to settle for a special form of blackening designed for brass. It looks nice but it doesn't quite have the blued look I want. So at the end of the day, my finish is as "faux" as any guy's efforts to simulate the original, or even as the guy who paints his coil tops pink.


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by troutjohn » Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:42 pm

I recently acquired what appears to be an original undisturbed 1913 KW coil box with coils. It appears to have been sleeping for a very long time, maybe 100 years. The coils are 6 screw with flat "blued" brass tops. The box has original finish and KW instructions in the lid. It was interesting to see brass springs for the bottom contacts inside the box. Pictures are attached.
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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Wayne Sheldon » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:53 pm

John T, Nice! Thank you for sharing such nice pictures of those coils and box!

Are the points on those coils basically the same size, fit, and dimensions as the common later points? I can see that they are very early versions of the points. But I have heard (not sure about it though) that some earlier style points for earlier coils look similar, but don't quite fit. Most styles of coils before the mid '13 changeover used totally different points, although on some, the common later points can be altered to fit and work. Yours do not look altered.

Nice find!


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by R.V.Anderson » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:10 pm

The bridges on those coils date from before early 1916, so there's a very strong likelihood they have never been changed. They will interchange with the later ones, though their construction is a bit different in that they use separate rivets to attach the contact spring rather than the metal of the bridge itself as in the later ones. Further, they have a different KW logo with no "PAT. 1914" in it.


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Original Smith » Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:55 pm

Nice to see your photos of your original unrestored 1913 KW coil box. I've had a couple like yours. They are very good units. I have them on both of my 1913's, a runabout and a touring. Always a good idea to have a couple of spares under the seat too, just in case.

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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by Steve Jelf » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:18 pm

I use bluing from the local gun shop on Champion X plugs. It works very nicely.
The inevitable often happens.
1915 Runabout
1923 Touring

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TWrenn
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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by TWrenn » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:24 am

Wow John! Those are fantastic!
Interesting how the K/W coils also used the same apparent spring
arrangement on the bottom just as my Heinz coils have for
my '13. So after seeing that, if I see a '13 with K/W coils that
use the brass strip on the bottom, even though the outside
of the box looks "correct", I'm wondering if technically that it
isn't, or maybe somewhere along '13 they switched to the brass
strip on the bottom? Be fun to find out when it happened.


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by R.V.Anderson » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:07 am

Heinze, Kingston, and J-B all used the same springs. They differed only in the method of attachment to the wood panel. That's why I had a run of 1000 made; they sold out, and I am now about 1/3 of the way through the second run.


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by R.V.Anderson » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:08 am

CORRECTION: I meant to type "K-W", NOT J-B. J-Bs were totally different. I apologize. :oops: :oops: :oops:

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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by david_dewey » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:00 pm

I have some copper-tops for my 16, what is the date difference between six screws and four screws--or is there some other difference?
T'ake care,
David Dewey


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by troutjohn » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:36 pm

Hi Dave I believe the 4 screw design change was in May of 1915. I think also the size of the coil and the location of the contacts also changed.


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Re: 4 screw brass top coils

Post by troutjohn » Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:42 pm

I appreciate the comments from folks knowledgeable about coils. I'm planning to use the coils in my 1913 touring. I currently have 4 screw brass tops in it with an original coil box. I will likely replace the capacitors and replace the points with new ones in order to save the old points.

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