Sunday, October 10, 2010

Marx Audio Engineer

Today's offering is the Marx Audio Engineer.  OK, I know that technically it was manufactured by Electro-Nuclear Devices, Inc. but it was designed by Marx and is commonly referred to as the Marx Audio Engineer.  It was made ca1959/60 (I'll have to double-check that date though) and was a simple device.  In design it looked like a microphone attached to a control box and was made for the 3-rail O-gauge train market.  Reading the instructions would have one believe that you simply talked into it to control the trains but all you really had to do was make a strong 'puff' into it to achieve the same result.  In a nutshell, here's how it worked.  The device was hooked up to your transformer and each time you spoke into the microphone the contact would momentarily break.  When the train was at a stop you would say, "F-FOR-ward' and this momentary break and subsequent re-engagement would start the train moving forward.  To reverse the direction you had to stop it first, so you said 'STOP' and the train would stop. To reverse you said, 'back u PUH' and the train would reverse.  For those not familiar with 3-rail  trains this is the basic Marx reverse unit action: Stop - Forward - Stop - Reverse, etc.  I hope you enjoyed this little essay.  'Til next time, Adios!