Ahh, the Twizzler
After the FH, the Twizzler was my favourite... the development of the incendiary starting mechanism, (which was later developed further and used on the Canberra aircraft) was one example of a great idea that we just didn't have the luxury of time or resources to fully develop.
We at Phantom have never shied away from the potential risks associated with inflammable compounds or incindiary device. I would in fact go so far as to say we all had quite a soft spot for things that burned. Why else would we be so excited about the methanol reactor or the internal combustion engine?
Our common practice, when testing model prototype is to have Titus prepare the machine and have Enoch ride it. Titus, though a bit of a rough character to some, was a diligent spanner man of the highest caliber. And Enoch had a penchant and skill for speed that was unequaled amongst our firm.
It is interesting that you suggest a "robust" charge be applied to the starting mechanism to get the motor to "turn over". This was our thinking exactly. We purchased a variety of pinwheels and rocket devices from the Chinese Market in Liverpool. Sadly, the seller spoke little of The King's English so communication was strained to put it mildly. Regardless, we had a good sample of various devices to test.
As was usual with us, Titus rolled out the Twizzler 01 and attached what he felt would be an adequate charge to start the motor. He tickled and set the levels of fuel and air in the "Sneezer" and set fire to the short fuse attached to the two-rocket pinwheel starting mechanism. Almost immediately the device ignited and emitted a loud howl, a cloud of white smoke, and a shower of sparks that engulfed poor Titus in the wink of an eye. We then heard, from the heart of the cloud, a series of bangs, a scream, and the motor of the Twizzler running at high speed and then .....silence. The smoke cleared and we saw Titus flat out on his back with the entire front of his coverall burnt off his body, exposing his undergarments, and all the hair from his face and the front of his bonce completely singed off. At his foot, or rather on it, was resting the upside-down and charred remains of the Twizzler.
Apparently Titus had underestimated the power of his selected rockets. Upon lighting the fuse, which was far too short, the rocket turned an inch and then locked and proceeded to launch the entire machine off the ground. It hit Titus in the face and knocked him on his back and ignited his coverall in one swift motion as Titus was permanently covered in some for or another of lubricant. Titus claims he saw The Twizzler perform a complete loop avbove him and the engine starting before crashing down on his left foot -- hence the scream.
After a few subsequent tests we found that a slightly smaller rocket attached to a metal plate was sufficient to start the motor. but the system demanded the rider to stand by with a water supply as it was necessary to douse the rocket as soon as the motor had started. Our solicitor warned us of possible legal issues arising from requiring our customers to carry incendiary devices on them whenever using our product.
About that time we devised a means of manually regulating spark timing such that "kick" starting became a practical possibility. the starting procedure reverted to one similar to our earliest machines with kicking replacing running. It was mildly labour saving but not by much. We determined that autocycle was destined to be a young man's pursuit anyway so we stuck with that approach.
We understand that most other manufacturers now employ electrically powered starting motors so that older and more sedentary gentlemen may still partake of the pleasures of riding and we salute them. But I fear that we are perhaps too stuck in our ways to entertain such complexity in our machines. But we shall see what time tells..