HelixtramxxxGrab Bag

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxYou've maybe heard of Helixtram...Now there's

For many years Wx4 has devoted a page, including a 57 page PDF, to the wonders of Helixtram, a revolutionary form of personal/public transportation, if one believed inventor Evan Jacobsen, who personally attempted to proselytize Wx4 Staff members about 50 years ago. But as wonders and revolutions tend to do, Helixtram collapsed when the idea did not quite catch on with folks - in this case, about 98% of them. We figure that, had Jacobsen not had one foot firmly planted in YaYa Land, he might have been in a better position to bounce his ideas off of similar revolutionary concepts that guaranteed to change the world.

A review of Helixtram (L to R): The personal capsule; capsule in the spring-like "track"; application to Anytown U.S.A. - some redecoration may be required, depending

For instance, we lament that his cognitive infirmities apparently kept him from apprising himself of an even more fantasmic proposal to whisk people from here to there - at 500 mph, no less. Staff does not know the particulars of this device (or its name) beyond what can be determined from the clipping below. We would guess that the image is from the pages of Mechanix Illustrated, the authoritative, but now defunct, purveyor of the future as applied to everyday living. Among other things, MI prepared us for the atomic-powered butter knives and underwear that are ubiquitous today. The key feature of this train was not its overall design, which we judge was inspired by a photo of a collision between two Marklin Rail Zeppelin toys, or alternately, a sexual nightmare. Rather, its big selling point was its use of a compressed air cushion to replace wheel to rail contact. This should have put construction funding over the top, given that compressed air tends to be very hot and is in heavy use in the halls of Congress. For the lack of a name, we shall dub it the Marklin 500!

We should note here that combining an unproven concept with the term
"on the Ground" might be a bit disconcerting to professional railroaders.
So Staff is asking, what if Jacobsen had melded both concepts together to create a truly superior way to get to the grocery store, or perhaps, even Planet Mongo. Could we have witnessed the Helixtram 500! had Jacobsen's cranium not leaked out a few marbles? Granted, it might have required some serious engineering work to adapt the Marklin 500! to Helixtram's curlicue track structure, but given everything, this might not have been the greatest challenge.

Just imagine a 500 mph train expressing through your living room? It would whiz by so quickly that you would be unaware of its passing, save being enveloped in eddies of superheated air wafting around you and your 95" TV. Cool! Perhaps Marklin might even have come out with an HO model.

Alas, as we know, such transformative journeys into mechanical design are always a hard sell. In fact, Mechanix Illustrated finally wore people down with their weird science to the point that it was forced to reconstitute itself as a home improvement magazine, certainly a mighty fall from grace. We are pretty sure that it was the resultant Home Mechanix that invented the formula adopted by the do-it-yourself media ever since: Norm Abram, "Today on This Old House we are going to learn how to have your contractor install a new front porch designed by your architect." We reckon that This Old House magazine eventually absorbed loser Home Mechanix just to eliminate royalty payments. But we digress.

All told, we miss those days that were so amenable to the likes of Helixtram and a 500 mph hot air train, even if the latter's appearance does seem to allude to the sex act...Oh wait! Are we confusing Mechanix Illustrated with Popular Mechanics?