Otto Winestock…Inventor

Earlier this fall I was given a tour of the Weathersfield Historical Society at the Dan Foster house and museum in Weathersfield Center, Vermont.

Of interest to me were some antique spark plugs. A note with these plugs says they were made by Rev. Otto Winestock of Perkinsville. Winestock was a minister in Perkinsville and an inventor. These “Radio Blaze” spark plugs were used in Model-A trucks.

I have collected antique spark plugs for many years and had never seen these spark plugs before so you can see why I found them interesting.

I did a little research and discovered Winestock also invented a new process for washing pulp in the papermaking process. He applied for a patent Sept 17, 1917, which was issued. Below is taken directly from Winestock’s patent papers.


Otto Winestock Radio Blaze spark plugs. Photo by Ron Patch.

“The principal object of the present invention is to provide an improved method and apparatus for washing pulp, which apparatus may be operated continuously, the waste or dirty water used in washing being gradually thrown off so that it is not ground into the paper fibers.

  “A further object of the present invention is to provide a Washing apparatus comprising a series of tubular washers through which the pulp is continuously passed, and so constructing the same that a considerable quantity of water may be kept therein to assist in the agitating, washing and flowing of the pulp.

  “Still another object of the present invention is to provide a series of tubes of the above nature having therein means for continuously agitating, washing and feeding the pulp.

  “A still further object of the present invention is to provide in such a washer means for regulating the amount of pulp contained therein.”

Writing about spark plugs reminded me of my Junior High School days. In 1963 I started the seventh grade at the Chester Junior High School. Today we know this brick building as the Academy Building. In those days the Junior High School was seventh and eighth grades.

John Arrison and Mike Palmer were a year ahead of me in school so they were in the eighth grade in ’63. Both John and Mike were running for class president. Throughout the school were signs, “Vote for Arrison” or “Vote for Palmer.” One sign is clear in my memory today. John’s father, Bill Arrison, ran a vending machine business in Chester. Bill had numerous signs for the many different products he sold.

One morning when I went upstairs for history class a new sign was above the blackboard. It was a commercial sign for “AC” or “Champion” spark plugs. Molded in the center was a colorful spark plug. Under it was a handwritten sign, “Spark up your school. Vote for Arrison.”

Mike Palmer not to be outdone but not having access to a commercial sign made his own sign. It read: “Spark plugs wear out. Palmer doesn’t.” Mike put his sign on the wall next to John’s. Our history teacher who was either Mr. Jarvis or Mr. Richardson (I can’t remember) pointed the signs out to us saying, “This is democracy in action.” It was a spirited presidential race but my memory fades as to who won.

Perhaps of interest was where junior high students had lunch in those days. At noon both seventh and eighth graders walked down to Chester Elementary School where hot lunch was served in the gymnasium. I don’t remember being escorted by a teacher and we walked regardless of the weather. I do remember Mrs. Grace and Mrs. Benson working there as I’m sure many others will.

Hot lunches were inexpensive, maybe 25 cents. I do remember an extra carton of milk cost three cents. My mother used to put the exact change in my mittens so I wouldn’t lose it. This would have been earlier when I was in elementary school.

Some of us junior high kids went over to the Chester Drug Store run by Pember Hazen instead of going to the elementary school for lunch. Pember had a soda fountain with bubbling soda dispensers on the counter and all flavors of ice cream. I remember “Orange Crush”, “Coca-Cola” and “Richardson’s Root Beer” dispensers on the counter. This soda fountain was the Art Deco style with chrome stools with round, black Naugahyde seats. We would spin around on the stools laughing and giggling. In those days Barb Gammon ran the soda fountain. Eventually Pember would come out from behind his drug counter and chase us out of the drug store. Do you remember “Between the Acts?”


This week’s old saying is from my father. “When you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.”

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