Everything You Need to Know About Spark Plugs After Automotive School

Did you know that the average car has about 30,000 parts?! From the headlights to the tailpipe and all the nuts and bolts in between, each of these moving components come together to create a smooth and reliable mode of transportation.

One of these small but vital parts of a car are spark plugs. Without them, a gasoline-powered car wouldn’t be able to start, let alone sustain maximum power. As their name suggests, spark plugs create an electric spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, which then starts a car and keeps it running.

In automotive school, you’ll learn about the many interworking parts of a vehicle, including when and how to change spark plugs. In order to contextualize your craft, you may be interested in finding out more about the history of how modern-day internal combustion engines and high voltage spark plugs came to be.

Keep reading to learn more about the origins of spark plugs and their transformations through the years.

The Mystery Behind Who Created the First Spark Plug Remains

Internal combustion engines were in the early phases of experimentation and undergoing rapid development in the early 19th century. Traceable all the way back to the 1800s, experts are not certain who the first person to create the spark plug was. Some historians suggest that Edmond Berger, who is believed to have been an immigrant from Togo, West Africa, created the first experimental spark plug 1839. However, he did not patent it and not much is known about its details.

The experimental spark plugs of the early 1800s led to the technology you’ll encounter in automotive school

A little over 20 years later, in 1860, Etienne Lenoir was granted a patent for his invention of an internal combustion engine, in which he used an electric spark plug. The engine was the first of its kind that could successfully be used commercially, and eventually led to the modern-day engines that you’ll encounter in auto mechanic school. Because of the historical evidence of the patent, Lenoir is generally credited for being the inventor of the first spark plug.

The Spark Plug Ignited the Bosch Brand to Fame

Many iterations and patents continued to arise over the coming years as the spark plug evolved and became more efficient. However, in 1902, an engineer for Bosch named Gottlob Honold created a high voltage spark plug that made the spark-ignition gasoline engine possible. This particular plug became a standard for the motor vehicles of the future, and Honold did not stop there. He is also known for creating automotive headlights in 1913, developing the Bosch car horn, and even designed the Bosch logo that is still used and recognized by professionals in auto careers today.

The invention of the high voltage spark plug led to Bosch becoming a globally recognized brand

The Evolution of Spark Plugs that Professionals in Auto Careers See Today

Created over a century ago, the first spark plugs to be invented were designed for low speed and low compression engines. Back then, the life expectancy for a spark plug was about 1500 kms, while today’s top-of-the-line spark plugs last up to 100,000 kms. As cars got faster and engines evolved, so did their spark plugs.

Variations in terminal configuration, better insulator materials such as sintered alumina to withstand heat, improvements in the seals and advancements to the central electrode are just a few of the developments that have progressed spark plugs to the state they’re in today.

There is no doubt that a very exciting aspect of the automotive industry is the evolution and innovation that is constantly occurring, and as a student in training at ATC Toronto, you’ll get to witness it all first-hand.

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