“Where do I begin? How can I date this plug? Who manufactured this spark plug?”
Reference Books for Spark Plug Collectors
With so many spark plugs having been produced over the years, how does one know where to begin? The first recommendation is to start with whatever catches your eye. Everyone is attracted to this hobby for different reasons and many collectors will focus on a particular niche. Some collectors like to collect spark plugs that were originally manufactured in their home state. Some collectors chase after plugs that were used for a specific application. Other collectors like the earliest plugs while still other collectors chase after plugs that they used in toys or automobiles from their childhood.
There is no right or wrong way to assemble a collection of interesting spark plugs, but many folks appreciate having some reference material to guide them along the way. Fortunately, there are at least a few books that have been produced to aid in your spark plug education. Unfortunately, only one set of books is still being published, while the others occasionally pop up as used-books for sale on eBay or through other collectors. This page is meant as a resource to let you know what has been written so far.
Spark Plug Advertising by Rick Cicciarelli
Rick Cicciarelli’s books are currently the only books still being published and readily available for purchase. These large format volumes (8.5 x 11) are printed in color as hardcover reference guides for collectors. Currently there are four volumes available and range from 300-400 pages in length. They consist of spark plug advertising ranging from the earliest published ads up through the mid 1930’s. Each volume includes an index that is searchable by both the plug trade name and the manufacturer. The first two volumes are almost exclusively advertising from the United States are are organized year-by-year making them an invaluable resource for dating the plug in your collection. The third volume focuses on European spark plug advertising ranging from about 1900-1935. The most recent volume, volume 4, fills in some of the gaps with newely discovered advertising, since the 1st two volumes, or undated material, mainly from the United States, up through the early 1930’s. These books are available for purchase from the author. You can email Rick Cicciarelli directly, or order through Rick’s website.
Spark Plug Collector’s Guide by Cornelius Bergbower
Cornelius Bergbower published three volumes of books that consist of black & white photos taken of plug examples from his own collection along with plugs from other collections. These books were published in the 1980’s as softcover guides of approximately 100 pages each. The books are nice as a quick reference to thumb through with photos of spark plugs. Used copies occasionally pop up on eBay for purchase. While the author did try to include a rough price guide for the time, like most price guides, values have changed and continue to change so frequently that they have little educational value. If you are trying to get an idea of spark plug values, the best recommendation is to ask experienced collectors and watch recent sales.
Spark Plugs by A. M. Parker
A. M. Parker published two softcover volumes in the 1980’s that were collections of advertising from around the world. Each volume is approximately 150 pages and laid out with ads published year-by-year. These books were published in Australia and are no longer in print, though they sometimes show up as used copies on eBay.