Pat Dennis Interview/TycoPro History
January 2009

some neat train stories from the time....

"Bob and I were having a lunch one day and the subject of the Boys Club annual train races came up. We started thinking about how we could "stack the deck" against the race. We went through all sorts of wild discussions and finally determined that using two pancake-style motors on edge (mounted vertically) with radially oriented magnets, integral gear train driving all wheels, independent pickups, and a vac-formed body would probably work best.

After lunch, Bob hacked out a prototype and we found that it not only was quick, but had several times the drawbar traction and - if the power was cut, would simply coast to a halt instead of locking up the axles and derailing the train. Another plus was that the current draw was much lower than the production train engines. This became the basis for a new traction system used on all Tyco engines. We did obtain a patent for this system

The only problem was that management decided that it would be cheaper to use only one powered truck - a real compromise. The system lasted several years in production. Moral: Keep management out of the loop!"

The Spirt of '76

"As 1976 approached, we were designing color schemes for various Locos that we could offer during that historic period.

I did the Red/White/Blue schemes for the locos and my product art man came up with the copy. He simply copied the Presidential Seal - decals were ordered and production started up. Then.... we got a call from the State Department informing us that we could NOT (emphasis on NOT) use the seal as we had it - only the President can use this. So, emergency redesign was sent out to the decal mfg. We finally got a better looking design through them. Very few locos were shipped with the "full seal", a much larger quantity was shipped with the "emergency rework and finally, the vast majority went out with the final. I have examples of all three (image attached).

Matchbox faced a similar situation on their Lipton's Tea truck - the Queen didn't appreciate her Seal on the lower side. Matchbox was more clever, stating that to destroy all of the "in process" models would be a financial hardship to a British company, and received permission to "finish the run" ... after about 6 month's production had gone down the line (I have one of these in my collection)."