Ted Brandon

Within the model railroad community there are a number of individuals who have played a significant role in the development of certain hobby items.  Willy Ade is one such an individual, as are others who appear in this section.  These including Ted Brandon, one of those people who have made quiet contributions to the model railroad hobby.  Like so many in his generation, Ted volunteered for the US Army during World War II.  He became a paratrooper and fought in the Pacific, later being commissioned.  Like so many in his generation, Ted found an outlet in model railroading after the War, but in addition to his personal interest in the hobby, he also contributed to the business side of model railroading.

I first discovered Ted as a result in my interest in Arnold rapido in the mid-1960’s.  My dad had taken a research posting in Ohio, and we had moved from a Texas-sized ranch house to a Cincinnati-sized apartment.  My trains were all boxed up and in storage; I was frustrated.  I wanted Rokal TT, but could not afford it.  And, in a fateful moment, my dad bought a very early Arnold rapido set, an 050 UP freight set.  An 054 B&O set followed in due time, along with more track and switches.  At last, I had an outlet for my model railroad hobby.

It was very early for the Arnold electric train product line, which proved to be potentially frustrating.  A visit to a local hobby shop, where I asked for additional Rapido items, drew blank stares from the shop staff.  It had not even been decided as to what this new train size would be called.  Arnold called it rapido, but the other manufacturer in that early time, Lone Star of England, called it “000”.  Regardless, I was having a fine time but also felt isolated.  Ted Brandon’s first article in MODEL RAILROADER, “000, the Smallest of the Small”, in February 1964, brought me out of isolation.  This article heralded the arrival of a scale smaller than TT on the modeling scene, and soon after 000 would be renamed “N-Scale.”  It was the start of great things.

At the same time, Ted played roles in the development of the Arnold rapido USRA Heavy Pacific locomotive, as well as the Minitrix Pennsy K4 Pacific, both significant locomotives in the history of N-Scale.  Since both manufacturers were German, and the proposed locomotives were American, someone had to find scale drawings of these locomotives, along with conduct research as to lettering, road numbers, colors and such.  Ted would contribute to those developments, and more. 

Of even greater importance, Ted considers his initiative in 1963 of persuading the Arnold & Co. management board to voluntarily offer the rights to its unique Arnold rapido coupler to all manufacturers worldwide without charge.  Up to that time, all producers had their own coupler types, none of which would work with those in any of the other product lines.  In addition, the Arnold rapido coupler was simplicity itself, of one piece, inexpensive, permitting cars to be lifted out of a train without entanglement.  As a result, by standardizing on a single coupler, all N-Scale locomotives and rolling stock became interchangeable.  This would result in the explosive growth of N-Scale starting in the late 1960’s.

Ted grew up in New York City and since retiring after 26 years of military service, Ted has been intensely involved in N, Nn3, and now On30 modeling.  He has been published multiple times by a variety of model magazines and is the Editor of the Nn3 Handbook, considered the go-to book in that scale.

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