Old Mantua Couplers

Hi, This should separate the boys from the men. The old men, I mean. Does anybody remember the very old Mantua couplers? They consisted of flat, oval shaped metal loops, about 1/32 thick. Can someone refresh MY memory..how did they uncouple? Mike

The biggest problem in this world is antipathy!!! But who cares?

Reply to
axipolti
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Reply to
Charles Kimbrough

Dunno about the couplers, but I'm pretty sure you mean "apathy," not "antipathy." I remember a notice on a bulletin board: "This week's meeting of the Apathy Club has been cancelled due to lack of interest."

-- Bill McC.

Reply to
Bill McCutcheon

The loop was just half of the coupler. There was also a sepatate, small, centered hook which was connected to a descending pin. A hook would overlap the loop of an adjacent unit to couple. Uncoupling was carried out by mechanical "ramps" which would raise said pins. If there was any slack in the coupled unit, the hook-loop could now disengage. The slack was initiated by going over the ramp in reverse. Hope this helps. Jerry Second time sent. Must have pushed an incorrect button. Wish me luck!

Reply to
trainjer

I don't even think they coupled - at least they certainly didn't reproduce!

Reply to
Steve Caple

The old Mantua couplers worked very well, but installing them was often a real problem because of the very deep coupler pocket. Coupling and uncoulping was very reliable if the height was adjusted properly.

The passenger version was another thing. It had a very wide loop and it was almost impossible to keep that wide loop aligned so as to be parallel to the rails.

One thing was that those beauties never let go. If a loco derailed and headed to the floor it took the cars along with it. If running on open benchwork the cars draped over the open spaces like Christmas garlands.

Next to come was the Model Die Casting "knuckle" couples which looked good but were a disaster. Just palin didn't work. I used the Mantuas until Kadees were firmly established. Some people talk about Baker couplers which were sort of like the mantua, but aside from John Allen using them I don't recall much about them.

Chuck Y Boulder CO

Reply to
RAILDATA
2000

I got the MDC couplers to work. They were not bad IMO. Kadees were/are better.

The Baker used a much smaller loop and the loops did not overlap as the Mantuas did. It had a one piece hook and uncoupling lever formed from a single piece of brass. The hook/lever pivoted about a point at the rear of the coupler. They uncoupled the same way as the Mantuas. I don't think they were as secure as the Mantuas but they looked a lot better.

Reply to
Ernie Fisch

To put this in a historical perspective, the elements of what became the Mantua system were originally presented in the January, 1935 issue of The Model Railroader (page 16) by Erik LaNal. I've a copy of the

1942 "Mantua HO Handbook" in which the system is prominently presented. The author of the Handbook is the same Mr. LaNal. I've no idea whether he ever patented his ideas which were then transferred to Mantua or if a less formal arrangement took place. Jerry
Reply to
trainjer

I have a couple pair of the MDC couplers still in service. They will couple with a Kadee, but will not automatically uncouple.

Don

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Reply to
Trainman

Old articles in M.R. said that Eric LaNal was actually a guy named Allen Rice, with the letters switched around, an anagram. Rick Larson

Bush/Orwell 2004

Reply to
Rugurr

Only if he spelled his pseudonym "LeNal" or his real name "Allan." Let's see, that means your real name is Lars Ronick? ... Ron Sicklar? ... Arlo Snirck? :-)

-- Bill McC.

Reply to
Bill McCutcheon

The ramps were quite simple IIRC, just a piece of acetate spiked between the rails. The trick was to get enough springiness into the acetate so that it would depress as a train went over it; it would only uncouple if you slackened the train over the ramp. I belonged to a club where these were "standard", Kadees were just too expensive for most of us. That same club also had a model loco with a working clutch, I can't remember quite what it did, I think it was to allow some "realistic coasting" when you cut the power. Didn't work too well IIRC :)

JD

Reply to
John M. Day

I think the acetate ramps were for Varney auto couplers, the Mantuas I have are two fibre ends riveted to a brass bar. The fibre ends had a slot that a thin brass strip fit into, this came about to the tops of the rails and was flexible so that a train could pull over it without uncoupling. If the train were backed onto it and then moved forward the cars directly over the ramp would uncouple. The brass strip connecting the two fibre ends and a tab in the center bent down to keep it from moving. Roger Aultman

John M. Day wrote:

Reply to
Roger Aultman

On Fri, 10 Dec 2004 21:43:44 UTC, Roger Aultman wrote: 2000

Those are the Mantua ramps I remember.

Reply to
Ernie Fisch

In the 1950's, Hobbytown offered a "centrifugal clutch". There was a rubber "spider" on the motor shaft, that engaged the inside of a cylinder. Centrifugal force spred the "fingers" out to engage the inside of the cylinder. When you cut power, the motor would stop, and the "fingers" were supposed to retract, letting the locomotive "coast" (Hobbytowns had helical gears in the truck, rather than a worm and gear just so this could happen).

It got really interesting if you left the locomotive in the car all day on a cold winter day, then brought it into the club and set it on the track without letting it warm up. The locomotive would start "stuttering" down the track, and take about 20 MINUTES to attain full speed, because the rubber part was so stiff from the cold!

(I speak from experience!)

Don

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Reply to
Trainman

Mantuas I

without

forward the

connecting

I think what you've described was an official Made by Mantua ramp. A lot of folks did use a strip of acetate, mounted to the track by slipping the ends under two of the then-popular fibre ties. The theory was that 1) the acetate strip was cheaper and 2) since it was transparent, it would be invisibe to casual observers.

Bob Netzlof

Reply to
wb3iqe

The Hobbytown clutches I remember had floating metal shoes attached to the 'input" shaft, inside the hollow "output" shell of the clutch. These expanded against the inside of the shell when rotated rapidly, and drove the shell by friction.

Perhaps they had a rubber version also. They DID had a fluid clutch also. It worked pretty well, but you could never keep it from leaking.

Revell also tried a centrifugal clutch in their NW-2 model. It was much like the Hobbytown one, with internal friction shoes.

All had SOME good operating properties, and some bad ones as well. Overall, they were not worth the added complexity and servicing they required.

Dan Mitchell ============

Reply to
Daniel A. Mitchell

Hi:

While in the Navy, back in 1951, when I switched from tinplate to HO, among the first kits I built were a Mantua switcher and some cars with these couplers. One of the chief petty officers had a layout in his garage, where we all used these very successfully, until one swabjockey discovered the new Kadee "blobs".

When the loops were set at the right height, coupling could be achieved on the tightest curves. Ramps lifted the hooks for uncoupling, but required a backward push to disengage, similar to today's couplers. There were no accidental uncouplings, but there was a large amount of slack. Mounting on cars with cast-on boxes required a fair amount of work. Mounting the blobs was worse, since they required box removal for mounting their own. Many hours were spent, while on watch in the transmitter shack, filing and chiselling with sharpened jeweler's srewdrivers.

A brief history of HO couplers with images can be found on my site.

For more details with methods and extensive discussion of problems and solutions, see first site below in Methods Index.

Hope this helps.

Thank you,

Budb

Author of:

MODELRAILROAD TECHNICAL INFORMATION

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PROTOTYPE TECHNICAL INFO FOR MODELRAILROADERS (Revised. New address)
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COUPLER HELP GROUP
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Reply to
bigbud

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