Popular Mechanics and N Scale

Hardcoaler Oct 10, 2021

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    When I was young, we had a pile of Popular Mechanics magazines in the attic. I have fond memories of these. They're long gone, but I recall the December 1967 issue (Page 144) which heralded N Scale's mainstream arrival with an article titled "New Mini-Trains Built Like A Watch!" that features a Minitrix F. The article is at this link:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=zNMDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&dq=popular mechanics" dec - 1967&pg=PA144#v=onepage&q=popular mechanics" dec - 1967&f=false

    I also remember two articles in the January and February 1970 issues building an N Scale a fold-against-the-wall layout.
     
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  2. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    My earliest print memories was a Model Railroader article on building an N-Scale Layout into a coffee talbe. It was a folded dogbane and had a 'transition curve' made from flex-track'.
    Side note: My father forbid 'Popular Mechanics' and 'Popular Science' in the house. I had to read 'Scientific American'. Ya, really. I fixed hime. Almost flunked high-school and never made a full year at college. ☻
     
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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I never knew of this article. I do recall about that same year, reading an article in MR which intrigued me.
     
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  4. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    I *think* it was around 1969/70ish. I had more or less finished the trackwork for 'Wescott's #4 track plan and the eye doc told me I couldn't do modle railroading any more because I was going to go blind.
    I can remember raising an eyebrow to my mother who gave me a nod and I very politely and eloquently expressed my disagreement with his conclusions.
    That evening I read the article and thought, 'I can do that.'.
     
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  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Back then I loved reading the automotive articles in Popular Mechanics too. One box of magazines I did keep were of Mad Magazines from the 1960s. Nothing was sacred then; they're still great.
     
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  6. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    I seem to recall an MR cover photo with an N scale train posed on top of a actual railroad rail.
     
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  7. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I remember that article in Popular Mechanics. My parents refused it as well so I got it in the High School Library. The monitor thought I was only interested in the architectural and auto articles and got upset that both times it was the model trains I was studying. And drawing pictures. :eek:
     
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  8. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    At that time I was in the early stages of being an HO scaler. I don't remember that Popular Mechanics mag... though I had seen some of them from time to time. Interesting to read that the article praised the Trix F unit as watch-like. About a year later (1968), I went to a department store with my Mom to try to add to my limited HO stuff. I had never seen N scale until that day. The toy department clerk was NOT promoting their tiny ~3' x 3' display of the N scale Santa Fe passenger train 'posed' on the display. I asked the clerk to run the train... but... his words were that it would contantly derail and was not worth his time to run it. He told me to stick with HO and forget this scale. Every time I checked, the
    message was stick to HO.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  9. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I was diagnosed back in 2002 with an incurable disease. My Dr said I most likely contracted it back in 1978 when my Dad brought the HO variant home to be used as decoration during the holidays. While talking to my mom about the issue I had she said Dad brought home the HO variant because it seemed I was already infected with the FS variant, and had been since I was just under a year old. My infection got really bad, I had entire rooms of my home dedicated to my illness, I tried to get help from a modular support group but it only seemed to make the issue worse. My FS variant was still effecting me as well. It seemed I had no cure in sight, then I moved back to WA. I once again dedicated a workshop to the ongoing infection, which turned into a disaster during the winter months. A modular support group was not very understanding so I attempted to force upon myself a “cure”. I sold everything I could think of to rid myself of this curse, illness, or whatever you want to call it.

    Did this work in the end… no… while I may not have had any of the “infectious materials” left in my possession, I still had the FS variant of the illness. This lead me down a dark rabbit hole that caused me to discover there was an “L” variant. The “L” variant was not as severe, but it still cost me dearly. While it was not a regret in any way, in fact after I tried to rid myself of the “L” variant in the same manner as I did the HO variant, I was unable to let it all go. My gains from the “L” variant has brought me here and now to the N variant. While it could be considered a “small” infection, it is most definitely still an infection, and one that I will prolly have until my last breath. I found a support group and we gather around tables from time to time to try and try to remedy our common ailments, but I fear there is no cure in sight.
     
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  10. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I hear ya. Had those. Only my other malady had only two wheels.
    Oh, maybe should say sill has two and now is also electric power. I'm getting into the future again.
     
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  11. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I have that issue too… I just didn’t want you all to cry over the seriousness of all my ailments. And to be honest I am also inflicted with the hydro variant too… I’m a lost cause!!
     
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  12. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    I got that same variant, some time ago also. I know exactly where I got it: The neighbor, across the alley, was a retired PRR Engineer. JACK could tell some stories about working on the Railroad. I'm glad my Mother never heard most of them. NYC be DAMNED!! Some a S-Scale American Flyer layout showed up in the basement later [THANKS Dad] and the rest was HISTORY. And then in the '60's Southern #4501 showed up on her maiden voyage. Stick a fork in Him, He's DONE. He's graduated to a FULL FOAMER case.
    If it ain't steam powered, The INDIANA RAILWAY doesn't run it.
     
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  13. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for posting that, Dan. I remember the ad with the Aurora SF F7 in it where they stated it outran other N gauge locos and the picture of it was made to look like it was moving. That ad made me want one real bad but I didn't get a Minitrix F7 (same as the Aurora) until years later.

    '67 was a big year for me. My first "adult" girlfriend, Sgt. Pepper's, messing around with my oldest brother's Honda 50, and the most important, my first Atlas N Gauge (they used "gauge" instead of "scale", back then) trains.

    The magazine with the Atlas train posed on the rail was the Model Railroader November, 1968 issue. It was an Atlas Santa Fe Pacific and about 5 cars. I think there was one Con-Cor wood sided boxcar in the train.

    Oh, and my dad subscribed to both Popular Science and Popular Mechanics for years. They were usually discarded after he and my brothers and I had read them, however.

    Doug
     
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  14. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I still use 'N' Gauge and 1:160 Scale. From architecture and machining also.
    Mom only got Readers Digest, doctors got and still get women's magazines. The first train magazine I saw was after I got out of the army and had moved to Milwaukee. Age 23 in 1973.
    The mail man thought my brother and I were running some kind of shop with our stack of magazines.

    Rich
    .
     
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  15. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    Massey: You are lucky to only get a minor case of the L variant...it is the most costly and has brought many a person to their end. It also usually affected their eye sight as well as all too often they reported seeing things being much bigger than they should be, curves much tighter than possible, and three of something where there should only be two.
     
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  16. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I have the S, HO, OOO, and N variants and have always had them. I just have to live with them.

    :D

    Doug
     
  17. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Years ago there was a discussion on here about a variant between HO and N. Anyone have some memory of it? I believe there was reference to being used in architectural modeling as well.
     
  18. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    TT is the scale between HO and N,

    Doug
     
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  19. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    TT or Table Top scale is 1:12O Scale where one inch equals ten feet. My understanding is TT was invented here in the USA just after WWII. I've often wondered why TT scale never caught on and ended up getting pushed aside by N scale? What's really funny, it's my understanding TT scale is very popular in Russia and at one time was very popular in East Germany.
     
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  20. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Model Railroader Magazine December 1970 "East Glasstop Railroad". Railroad in a Coffee Table by Walter Olsen. I followed the plans and built the Coffee Table in Wood Shop in Junior High School a few years later. I received an "A" on the coffee table, but unfortunately the layout never progressed beyond the track laying stage.
     

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