Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Schrader spark plug air pump

Schrader spark plug air pump advert
"Always use metal dust caps as unlike the plastic tyre these will form an air seal"

The 1974 'a guide to Land Rover expeditions' has a few interesting paragraphs on tyres, as the quote above indicates.  Metal dust caps are still available (check your local ebay) however I don't think I know anyone who has metal dust caps fitted!

One item in particular caught my attention: 'Spark plug air pump (Petrol models only)'
The paragraph continues: 'The latter is extremely useful, as manually inflating large tyres in hot conditions can be very exhausting'.


Ever heard of a Spark plug air pump?  Here's an overview of this outdated item:
A third “powered” pump, and a bit less labor intensive, was the spark plug pump. When needed, you would remove a spark plug and screw this device in its place. With the engine running it would create a two-stage pump for the air that was needed. The Mayo Manufacturing Company of Chicago stated that any other way besides their Mayo Spark Plug Pump would be the hardest job you would ever tackle. They also told you that their pump would inflate the largest tire in from 2 to 4 minutes. Another brand of this type of pump was made by A. Schrader’s Son from Brooklyn. The Schrader name might be familiar because of their fame from the manufacture of valve stems. Source: Derek
Google images and Ebay have a few colour photos of this device:
The website Old Classic Cars has the following image displaying the action of the Schrader spark plug air pump:
I guess the concept was good, but in reality, the effort involved of removing a spark plug to inflate your tyres was simply not efficient enough.

I wonder what other old vehicle equipment was recommended in those days and what equipment we carry that we will look back at and wonder why we ever used it!