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Autolite or Auto-Lite is an American brand of
spark plug A spark plug (sometimes, in British English, a sparking plug, and, colloquially, a plug) is a device for delivering electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber of a spark-ignition engine to ignite the compressed fuel/air ...

spark plug
s and ignition wire sets. Autolite products are sold in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
,
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...

Canada
,
Mexico Mexico (Spanish language, Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the so ...

Mexico
, and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...

Australia
. Until 2011, the Autolite brand was a part of
Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American public company, publicly traded, multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It primarily operates in four are ...

Honeywell
's automotive Consumer Products Group, along with FRAM and Prestone. Since then, it has been manufactured and marketed by FRAM Group. Autolite has been the official spark plug of
NASCAR The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC (NASCAR) is an American auto racing sanctioning and operating company that is best known for stock car racing. The privately owned company was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1948, and ...

NASCAR
since April 2000.


History

The origins of Autolite are traced to 1911, when Electric Autolite was founded. The company produced generators to power early day buggy lamps. In 1927, Electric Autolite acquired the Prest-O-Lite Battery Company from
The Union Carbide Corporation
The Union Carbide Corporation
which produced automotive batteries. In 1934 an Autolite facility in
Toledo, Ohio Toledo ( ) is a city in and the county seat of Lucas County, Ohio, United States. A major Midwestern United States port city, Toledo is the fourth-most populous city in the state of Ohio, after Columbus, Ohio, Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnat ...
was the site of the Auto-Lite strike. In 1935, Royce G. Martin, President of the Electric Autolite Company, decided the company should enter the business of manufacturing spark plugs. Robert Twells, a ceramic engineer, led the development team. In 1936 the first spark plug was produced at their
Fostoria, Ohio Fostoria (, ) is a city located at the convergence of Hancock County, Ohio, Hancock, Seneca County, Ohio, Seneca, and Wood County, Ohio, Wood counties in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Ohio. It is approximately south of Toledo, Ohio, ...
plant. A few months later, the company sold their first
spark plug A spark plug (sometimes, in British English, a sparking plug, and, colloquially, a plug) is a device for delivering electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber of a spark-ignition engine to ignite the compressed fuel/air ...

spark plug
. Electric Autolite's products were expanded further to include
starter motor A starter (also self-starter, cranking motor, or starter motor) is a device used to rotate (crank) an internal-combustion engine so as to initiate the engine's operation under its own power. Starters can be electric motor, electric, pneumatic ...
s,
ignition system An ignition system generates a spark or heats an electrode to a high temperature to ignite a fuel-air mixture in spark ignition internal combustion engines, oil-fired and gas-fired boilers, Rocket engine#Ignition, rocket engines, etc. The widest ...
s, and wire and cable products. Autolite had secured supply contracts with leading car manufacturers such as
Chrysler Stellantis North America (officially FCA US and formerly Chrysler ()) is one of the " Big Three" automobile manufacturers in the United States, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is the American subsidiary of the multinational automot ...

Chrysler
,
Studebaker Studebaker was an American wagon and automobile manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana, with a building at 1600 Broadway, Times Square, Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Founded in 1852 and incorporated in 1868 as the Studebaker Brothers Ma ...

Studebaker
, and
Packard Packard or Packard Motor Car Company was an American luxury vehicle, luxury automobile company located in Detroit, Michigan. The first Packard automobiles were produced in 1899, and the last Packards were built in South Bend, Indiana in 1958. ...

Packard
. In a 1940 promotional film, Autolite featured stop motion animation of its products marching past Autolite factories to the tune of
Franz Schubert Franz Peter Schubert (; 31 January 179719 November 1828) was an Austrian composer of the late Classical period (music), Classical and early Romantic music, Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left behind a List of composition ...

Franz Schubert
's '' Military March''. An abbreviated version of this sequence was later used in television ads for Autolite. Announcer Harlow Wilcox turned the ad's tagline ''"You're always right with Autolite!"'' into a national catchphrase. In 1961, the
Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company (commonly known as Ford) is an American multinational corporation, multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, Dearborn, Michigan, United States. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated o ...
acquired the Autolite trade name, an Ohio spark plug factory, a Michigan battery facility, limited distribution rights, and the services of several employees. Autolite products became standard original factory equipment in Ford vehicles. A federal antitrust lawsuit was filed against Ford, which dragged on through the remainder of the 1960s, ultimately being decided in 1972 by the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...

Supreme Court
against Ford, and Ford was forced to sell its Autolite-related assets to the
Bendix Corporation Bendix Corporation is an American manufacturing and engineering company which, during various times in its existence, made Automotive industry, automotive brake shoes and systems, vacuum tubes, aircraft brakes, aeronautical hydraulics and electr ...
by 1973. At that point, Ford replaced the Autolite brand with the
Motorcraft Motorcraft is an auto part brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that distinguishes one seller's good or service from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recogn ...
name worldwide for its original factory equipment, which is still in use by Ford to this day. In 1963, the portion of the Autolite company which was not acquired by Ford merged with the
Mergenthaler Linotype Company The Mergenthaler Linotype Company is a corporation founded in the United States in 1886 to market the Linotype machine (), a system to cast metal type in lines (linecaster) invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler. It became the world's leading manufacture ...
, and the Eltra Corporation was formed. The former Autolite portion became the Prestolite Motor and Ignition Company, later Prestolite Electric. In 1973, the
Bendix Corporation Bendix Corporation is an American manufacturing and engineering company which, during various times in its existence, made Automotive industry, automotive brake shoes and systems, vacuum tubes, aircraft brakes, aeronautical hydraulics and electr ...
had purchased both FRAM and Autolite. In 1980, the Eltra Corporation was acquired by
Allied Signal AlliedSignal was an American aerospace, automotive and engineering company created through the 1985 merger of Allied Corp. and Signal Companies. It subsequently purchased Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American public company, ...
Corporation which was itself acquired by
Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American public company, publicly traded, multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It primarily operates in four are ...

Honeywell
in 1999. Bendix was acquired by Allied in 1983, thereby bringing Autolite back to its original parent, Electric Autolite (Eltra) as part of Allied Signal (Honeywell). In 2011, Honeywell sold its automotive Consumer Products Group to Rank Group, which introduced FRAM Group and several other companies to take over the operations and the transfer of ownership of the acquired trademarks.


See also

* Auto-Lite strike


References

{{Reflist


External links


Autolite
Auto parts suppliers of the United States American companies established in 1911 Companies based in Lake Forest, Illinois Carburetor manufacturers Bendix Corporation