Wico is an acronym for the Witherbee Ignitor company of days gone by. Witherbee offered charging and ignition equipment early on. Early Wico magnetos like the type R Igniter were of the reciprocating design, then later changed to a rotary action. The reciprocating models like the R and EK had exposed parts very subject to dirt, grit and general neglect and did not improve with age and the elements.
Magnetos were not the only products in the marketing mix from Wico. This was a promotional token back in the day for the PUFF-A-LITE and AUTOSTOP. More research to follow on these. If anyone has heard of these or has any information please let us know.
Later products appeared in this 1936 sales brochure like the models A and C which were a rotary design with the moving parts enclosed. The AP replaced sleeve bearings that seldom got oiled with needle bearings that also seldom got oiled but were more robust. Wico supplied the small air cooled engine market with the F series beginning with the F, FG, then the much improved and current design FW series. The later model XH and heavier duty XHD was a ball bearing design with an improved coil and condenser that endures today. Here is some information to share to keep yours well by kind permission from Standard Magneto of Chicago. Wico,American Bosch Magneto and Prestolite are now part of Standard Magneto of Chicago. They are a tremendous resource for parts for vintage and modern ignition systems of their brands and others. They are helpful and very knowledgeable. They can be reached by calling 1-800-magneto.
In 1946 they offered this handy application tool to service installations of the day. It also explains what all those marks on the front over the drive cup are for.
The Wico model C and XH were used extensively by John Deere. John Deere publishes an excellent reference covering ignition,charging and lighting circuits with much info on magnetos used on their products. If you have a green 2 banger, this is a good investment. It is hard to find and not all dealers know about it. it is part# SM-2029. It also covers the Edison Splitdorf mags used by Mother Deere on some earlier models. Wico was the final resting place of Edison Splitdorf.It also covers some of the Fairbanks Morse magnetos used by Mother Deere. This book will save a lot of grief.
We will share some basic first aid for the biggest offenders with more to follow over time.