Marx made 400 and 401 clockwork locomotives with “smoke”. The smoke was actually baking powder in a rubber bladder that is hit by a paddle. Nicknamed Mothers Curse due to the powder deposited on floors and carpets. I suspect many a mother threw them out. Pretty hard to find with a good bladder. They are usually rotted off or hardened. This mechanism was also used in a low end electric loco.

Steve

Steve "Papa" Eastman

Yorba Linda, CA

Left Coast, Home of the lunatics

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Original Post

It's always a treat to see the mechanical puffers!

In addition to the 400 & 401 puffers, Marx also made a 490 mechanical puffer:

490PufferLeft

The 400 mechanical puffers are the most common by far, and can be found in at least two variations, with stamped steel drivers and with 17 spoke diecast drivers.  The 490 and 401 puffers are harder to find, although I would say the 490 version is the most scarce of all.

Here is the "smoke" that came with the 490 mechanical puffer:

490PufferSmokePkt

I love the Marx mechanical puffers, but they are one type of locomotive in my windup collection that I rarely run.  I just don't want to take the chance of damaging the fragile rubber bulbs... 

I do have a 401 puffer with a regular riser gear motor - it was a parts loco that I repowered.  So, when I get the urge to run a puffer, I just put it on the track instead... 

 

 - James

 

"Clockwork guys really know how to unwind!"

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I had a stamped-tin wind-up Seaboard diesel from Marx back in the 50's that puffed smoke. My mother used to fill it with talcum powder and mop up the linoleum after. The only rule was that it stayed on the track and in the kitchen. Now I'm wondering whatever happened to it. I still have all my Lionels from back then, thank God.

"You have to grow old. You don't have to grow up". Ray Bradbury

PhillyChris posted:

Very cool. Back in the 60s, I think I had a submarine that ran on baking powder. Now I need to look that up and try to re-live that. There’s no end.

Are you referring to the small plastic submarines that came as bonus prizes in cereal boxes and went up and down when powered by baking powder when placed in water?

Bob Nelson

It did not come in the cereal box; you had to send in a cereal boxtop for that "Nautilus" style sub plus a fee and it was mailed to you. The cereal was Sugar Corn Pops if I recall. They later offered three "frogmen" that utilized the same baking powder principal, but they did not work as well as the sub. Available on Amazon as a diving sub.

vita sine litteris mors est  (Seneca)

Steve "Papa" Eastman posted:

Marx made 400 and 401 clockwork locomotives with “smoke”. The smoke was actually baking powder in a rubber bladder that is hit by a paddle. Nicknamed Mothers Curse due to the powder deposited on floors and carpets. I suspect many a mother threw them out. Pretty hard to find with a good bladder. They are usually rotted off or hardened. This mechanism was also used in a low end electric loco.

Steve

Thanks for sharing the pictures and video’s with us Steve! What a unique feature!

Aim to live a simple and quiet  life! 

 

Theres no gauge like O gauge! 

 

Tinplate Art posted:

It did not come in the cereal box; you had to send in a cereal boxtop for that "Nautilus" style sub plus a fee and it was mailed to you. The cereal was Sugar Corn Pops if I recall. They later offered three "frogmen" that utilized the same baking powder principal, but they did not work as well as the sub. Available on Amazon as a diving sub.

Not to takeaway from original post, but to add to this only. Your correct on the premium of the Nautilus with box top and .25 cents, But actually the Frogmen came first, then the success of this premium and sell more cereal the Nautilus was added. But afterwards, and rarely remembered was also a PT boat which used baking powder. The bubbles came out the back and moved it along. But didn't always work. Later in the 70s, early 80s, smaller versions of the frogmen and submarine were included in cereal boxes wrapped in cellophane. These were met with great success in selling cereal again.

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