Vintage Garden Syringe Sprayers    


The plunger rod can be made of brass or steel. The diameter can vary from ¼ inch to 7/16 inch. Larger diameter brass rods are usually tubes. The key component is the piston assembly of which there are basically two types. One which looks like a cotton reel around which is wound a packing of cotton string, thread or material, and the other using cup washers. Hybrids consisting of the cotton reel type with both the normal packing and a cup washer are also found. The cup washer type normally have two cup washers back to back, but I think some sprayers may have had only one washer or a single specially moulded washer, with a cup either side.

The plunger rod may have a shock absorber spring. This will fit loosely around the plunger rod and stop provide some resistance when the plunger rod is pulled back to nearly its full extent . The spring may also prevent damage to the cup washer.

Sometimes there is rubber  buffer washer fitted around the plunger rod next to the handle ferrule. This is designed to absorb the shock when the plunger is pushed in.

Handles can be made of various types of wood and in late models of plastic. Wooden handles are normally a push fit. Often held in place with a brass ferrule and a brass rivet which passes through a hole in the plunger rod. Some handles screw on and in some the plunger rod passes through the handle and are held on with a nut.  

Ferrules are frequently damaged and sometimes missing, usually because the wood of the handle has expanded. The internal diameter will vary, but around ¾ inch is normal. The ferrule is usually held in place with a brass rivet which often passes through the plunger rod and secures the handle to the rod. The ferrule isn’t essential, though they do prevent the wood of the handle splitting further.

The Plunger Collar or Barrel End Cap - Screws onto the barrel. Sometimes incorporates a drip guard.


This picture shows the rubber buffer washer which is sometimes present on the plunger rod next to the handle. Note also the slight crack in the ferrule.

This handle has a screw top.  Possibly, just part of the construction, but may have been used to hold  small jet caps of different sizes.

Spring on plunger rod. Also note the pin which secure the ferrule and handle.

Plastic handle. Also came in other colours.

D, T,  and O shaped handles are also used on some syringes.