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Edobaud Trains

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Edobaud O gauge Camionette powered unit, early versions with some wooden but mostly metal parts. O gauge trucks on gauge I frames This French toy company was founded by Edouard Baud in Villeurbanne (Rhône) in 1928. The name of the company was formed by taking the founder's first name and last name and combining them. The company moved to Oyonnax, in Ain, in 1930. It was there that the firm began to develop products in the field of "science toys" (as advertised by Edobaud in its brochures). This included a range of locomotives, freight wagons, passenger coaches, transformers, track and operating accessories in 'O' gauge. These model trains looked unusual as they were designed to operate on 'O' gauge track, but were more like 1 gauge (1/30) in weight and size. Edobaud toy trains and accessories were made out of steel, cast iron, brass, bronze, nickel, aluminum, zinc, wood and tinplate, and were assembled by hand using nuts and bolts.

Edobaud O gauge 2-B-2 2 rail locomotive, all metal parts, no wood - O gauge trucks on a gauge I body Initial product sales were exclusively handled by the famous French department store Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Eventually the products began to show up in more specialized stores such as hobby shops. Edobaud produced at least five different powered cars including two electric outline locomotives, a "Camionette," or powered van or truck, an "Automotrice," or powered passenger car, and a small switcher locomotive. In 1931 Edobaud introduced an electric locomotive called "Tractor Simplon" which was a model based on the Swiss-type "Crocodile" prototypes that operated during that period on the Alpine railways. This was referred to as a 2-B-2 type locomotive. Later in 1932 a 2-C-2 type followed. These locomotives were designed to run on 2 rails and were equipped with a universal motor and isolated wheels that permitted remote control reversing. 3 rail versions equipped with a center rail shoe pickup were also available by special order.

Edobaud O gauge Automatrice powered unit, early version with some wooden but mostly metal parts. O gauge trucks on gauge I frames The company filed for a unique patent on March 2, 1933. They were awarded French Patent #751719 on June 26, 1933 for a type of universal wound motor designed to operate devices on three rail track that had 3 separate insulated rails/blocks. The motor was equipped with a special inverter that could 'walk' the electrical field and change direction as power to the track was shifted. The motor was wired so that it ran in one direction when power was applied to the center rail hot shoe and the wheels on one side. The motor would run in the opposite direction when power was applied to the center rail hot shoe and the opposite side wheels. The entire patented system was unusual for the time, but well thought out and interesting. Unlike similar train systems of the era offered by EHD, BLZ, and Hornby, the Edobaud three rail system with isolated blocks came with cars (engine included) who's wheels were completely isolated (insulated from the axles). The locomotives had a double winding inductor, connected for each direction of travel to one of the outer rails through the corresponding wheels (the current return was made via the armature, the collector and the shoe). Reversing of track current from one outside rail to the other was facilitated via a toggle-type switch. This AC system provided a very reliable reversing mechaism similar to those of DC systems operating with reverse polarity.

Edobaud 1st class coach Edobaud all 2nd class coach Edobaud dining car Edobaud sleeping car
Edobaud Red telegraph and postal van circa 1935 Edobaud telegraph and postal van Edobaud Pullman car circa 1935 Edobaud Lugage coach

Edobaud C-2-C loco circa 1935 Edobaud was awarded a second French patent for track design on June 18, 1934. Edobaud three rail track had wooden ties, so all rails were completely insulated from each other. Edobaud produced eight different passenger cars: a First, Second, and Third Class Car, a Dining Car, a Sleeping Car, and a Postal And Telegraph Car. All of the these cars were 18" long, buffer to buffer, produced in tinplate, and painted a single color. They also produced a two-toned blue-cream tinplate "Pullman" car and a green tinplate "Fourgon de Queue" tail van or baggage car with sliding doors. All cars feature painted tinplate bodies, name and number decals, plain stamped aluminum roofs, individual metal and celluloid window inserts, steel hand rails, flexible end-of-car diaphragms, heavy steel undercarriages with trusses, and wooden floors. Apparently, some cars had provisions for lighting, but these are not common. The Edobaud coupling system consisted of a sprung hook and pin arrangement, and later a hook and link arrangement.

Edobaud Shell tank car Edobaud box car Edobaud log car
Edobaud flat car Edobaud wooden barrel flat car Edobaud gondola circa 1935

Edobaud Graphline car with containers Edobaud produced nine separate freight cars: a Lumber Car, a "Graphiline" Grease Barrel Car, a Box Car, a Flat Car, a Shell Tank Car, a covered (tarped) "Baches Plisson" Flat Car, a Gondola, a Wooden Barrel Car, and a "Cinzano" Wine Keg Car. Many of these cars relied on wooden topside components mounted on the usual heavy steel undercarriages. The cars are 14" long buffer to buffer. Edobaud train accessories included a grade crossing, a truss bridge, an assortment of stop signals, and a semaphore. Some of these signals were electrified and some were operated manually.

Edobaud trains were very well made and many survive to this day. Because they were entirely hand assembled, limited quantities were manufactured. Edobaud disappeared around 1938 after 10 years of operation.

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