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Firing on all cylinders

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 05, 2007

In Reply to: Firing on all cylinders Posted by KrishnaDas on January 05, 2007

: Can someone throw some light on "Firing on all cylinders"..does it come from the automotive industry?

Are you familiar with a reciprocating engine, as in your car? It produces power by filling an array of cylinders, in a smooth sequence, with a mixture of combustible fuel and air, then igniting each in turn by means of a spark produced by a spark plug. If the spark plug is defective it won't fire. If your spark plugs are in good shape, and your distributor correctly adjusted, your engine will be firing on all cylinders. This means it is producing power as expected. You are talking about a figurative use, I assume, meaning that a person or a machine is working well. The distributor, incidentally, is what causes the spark plugs to fire in the right sequence with the optimum timing--it distributes the electricity needed to cause the spark plugs to fire.