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Early automobiles had a spark control that allowed the timing of the spark with respect to the position of the piston to be manually adjusted. Retarded too much, the engine would not run well at high speeds. Advanced too much and the engine would fire too soon and kick while being cranked. This sometimes resulted in a broken arm.
1001 Words and Phrases You Never Knew You Didn’t Know by W.R. Runyan Copyright © 2011 by W.R. Runyan