Adventures in T

You may choose to believe the following, or not, although there are people who will corroborate my story.

T Gauge got a rocky start. Its inventor envisioned a model train scale small enough that he could fit a layout in the space of his laptop. Some years later, he got his wish—although his dream would be deferred.

It turns out the first fruits of his labor, as manufactured by the Chinese, had too much lead in the paint. Consequently all of the first train sets had to be returned and replaced by new ones—but not before a few of the very first sets had already been sold at a couple of shops in Tokyo. As it happened, an American serviceman stationed in Japan at the time offered to purchase one of the first T Gauge train sets on my behalf, and ship it to me straight away. He did as promised, just before the lead paint recall.

Which means I'm very likely the the first person in North America to have owned a T Gauge train set, and indeed, one of the very few people in the world to own a T Gauge set at that time. And it remained that way for over a year, until the sets were finally re-released. In the meantime, I posted many images and reviews of models that no one had access to until more than a year later (which drove some modelers nuts).

I was a pioneer in the scale, and for two reasons: one, I've always had an intense interest in small scales for as long as I've been a modeler; and two, I had a one-year-plus head start over everyone else. Among other things, I created a decent facsimile of a CNJ F7, built two layouts, handlaid 3mm track (including turnouts), developed several laser-cut building kits, and fabricated several detail items such as working grade crossing flashers.

I also created Talking T Gauge, which I hosted myself until a member in the UK became totally unhinged because I wouldn't ban a somewhat annoying teenager from the message board. He left the board in a huff, but because I wouldn't remove his posts, this utter lunatic began harassing me relentlessly, accusing me of being a Nazi among other vile, evil things, and even threatened to pay to have my website hacked! Ultimately I did delete his posts, but the process of doing so caused the database to crash, and because the web host was unable to retrieve their backup, I was forced to close the message board. The experience unnerved me to the point that I eventually abandoned T Gauge altogether.

Compounding the mystery of my adventures in T Gauge, several years later I suffered a catastrophic computer failure, which destroyed many files. Consequently, the sole remaining image of my work is the one below, and only because it wasn't on my hard drive at the time.

The photo is on Wikipedia (thankfully a copy that had my watermark was still in the Wiki archives). Yes, that's my finger. And yes, I took the photo before T Gauge was officially available to the world. And yes, I have no way to prove any of this.

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