My Father-in-Law gave this Ford branded ignition coil to me today.

I'm curious to know what vehicle it went to, and how it was hooked up originally. Can I easily determine whether it works or not without connecting it to the vehicle it was designed for?

wooden box with exposed terminals and a relay on one end

2 Answers 2


Since you said it has Ford on the case, this would most likely be a coil for a Model T. I don't exactly know how you'd test it, but I found this document from a Model T Ford website. I think it would be very hard to try and test, as there are adjustments of what I'm calling the top (to the left in your picture). There are adjustments needed for the vibrator which is next to the spring and under the "V" bar (again on the top). Here is a detailed image of what the part names are located there:

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Here is the basic layout for the entire coil:

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Both of the above images were pulled from the website linked above. You may be able to find something which will help you with your endeavor there, as the document seems fairly comprehensive.

  • I almost bought one of those last weekend at auction. I've wanted one for a long time. Sep 6, 2015 at 19:03
  • 2
    WOW I recognise it as a T coil .I saw this used as a cattle prod in a freezing works in 1982 .I was a student helping the electricians .The cattle prod never crapped out .There was lots of stuff that did crap out so I was busy.The T coil was really the first multiple spark or MSD system .I expected the thing to crap out and was planning a solid state replacement for the trembler contacts but never had to implement it .
    – Autistic
    Mar 21, 2016 at 11:17

Be it known that I, Joseph A. Williams, a citizen of the United States, residing in Cleveland, in the county of Cuyahoga and State of Ohio, have invented a certain new and useful Improvement in Ignition Apparaatus…. (U.S. Patent #1,092,417)

That coil was used on model T Fords here are a little bits of info you might like complete with a link for you to further read up on

In 1907 the K-W Ignition Company of Cleveland, Ohio had attempted to persuade the Ford Motor Company to adopt their magneto for the Ford Models N, R and S. Although K-W’s attempt was unsuccessful, it appears that Joseph A. Williams, president of K-W, continued to look for opportunities to hitch K-W Ignition Company's wagon to Ford Motor’s rising star.


With the adoption of ignition coils manufactured by the K-W Ignition Company in late 1912 or early 1913 the Ford Motor Company began a business relationship with K-W that would last almost fifteen years. While both companies prospered during the tenure of the relationship, there were times when difficulties arose between them. The most serious difficulty arose over Joseph Williams’ patent on the design of the K-W coil. Here is what is known of the story.


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