BETTER FARMING MAGAZINE | JUNE 1955
The horses referred to in this advertisement are of course symbolic, referring to the horsepower inside farmer’s farm and personal vehicles in 1955. Spark plugs, a key component to engine ignition systems, saw various designs throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, primarily stemming from Europe. AC Spark Plugs were the product of one of the pioneers that brought the technology to the North American continent.
AC Spark Plugs was founded by a European, Albert Champion, in 1908. Champion was a french bicycle and motorcycle racing prodigy who immigrated to the United States in 1904. Champion brought ceramic insulators to North America for the first time, a major breakthrough, and in 1908 his company was acquired by General Motors.
AC Spark Plugs made their product for not just GM’s commercial vehicles, but also for planes and farm engines. The winking horse “Sparky” seen in the image was a fixture of AC Spark Plugs’ advertising. AC Spark Plugs frequently advertised in Canadian and American farmers journals and magazines. The company’s rise took place directly alongside the huge developments in farm technology that took place over the first half of the twentieth century. Thus the advertisement is a subtle self-congratulations, the spark plugs technology was one of many technological contributors to an environment that allowed machinery to supplant beasts of burden on North American farms.
Full advertisement can be seen below!