How did we get into the wire marker business, anyway?
i.e. 'Wire markers' for Pre-WWII R-R/B Automobiles
The year 2004 was the first time for our Rolls-Royce, WMB16, to attend an RROC National Meet. It was the centenary year of Mr. Royce having met Mr. Rolls and my wife and I didn't want to miss the big celebration in Monterey, CA. Since we were going to be there anyhow, it also seemed like as good a time as any to enter our car in the judging competition. We didn't know what to expect, but thought it would be a learning experience. Indeed it was.

The day before the judging we were in the parking lot, along with many others, most of us cleaning and polishing. Tom Clarke stopped by to have a first-hand look at our Wraith. He noticed a set of wire markers that I had made for the distributor end of the ignition wires and commented that they looked fairly credible, but weren't exactly like the originals. "And by the way, they should also be on the spark plug ends of the wires as well". Mine were made to look similar to the picture in the Wraith handbook. Since I had never seen an original I didn't know that they should have molded, raised numbers instead of the engraved, white filled ones that I used. After a few additional words about possibly reproducing more original looking samples we returned to our chores. A couple of months later, when our judging score sheet came in the mail, we discovered that ignition wire markers were worth 4 of the possible 400 points of the judging total. All of the RROC non-Ghost, pre-war judging classes assess a similar 4 points for 'Engine Electrical /  Missing number rings'.

Finding originals of the various styles of these markers available for purchase is becoming a difficult task; nearing impossible some might say. In December 2004 I began an investigation that is ongoing to this day. Was it possible to find a method and a material that could reproduce authentic looking wire markers for a Wraith or other pre-war car? After many false starts I found not only a method, but a material that closely simulates the dark brown Bakelite from which most of the originals were made. My efforts then turned to investigating what styles and numbers of markers were used not only on Wraith, but on ALL of the pre-war cars: phone calls, reference books, personal consultations, even a trip to the Hunt House in Paulerspury, UK, to search the archives of the RREC. What we found is the information you see on these pages. It is still incomplete and we know that. But it is believed to be the best and most complete compilation of information on this subject available today. If any of you have additional details that could help explain the subject, please don't keep them to yourself. We can, and will, use every scrap of available, credible information to further our understanding of the subject.

Early in the project a few had suggested that we could reproduce a single style of marker that would suffice for those in need. "As long as there is a dark colored ring on the wire, who will know the difference." It is true that the RROC judging rule deducts points for 'missing number rings'; nothing is said about 'incorrect' rings. But instead of the easy route, we chose the path of Roycian perfection. Our goal is twofold. First, to identify all of the various marker styles as well as when and on what models they were used. And secondly, with the help of various club members around the world, to collect samples of the various styles and reproduce them. In this manner the community of R-R/B owners will once again have a supply of all the correct styles. Its a slow process, but we are well on our way to success.
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