Here I am with my very first product.
The Rix Powerplus Handheld Throttle in 1980.
Rix Products starting in the attic of our first home in 1980 with the Rix PowerPlus Handheld Throttle.
The newer design for the one shown above.
The throttle went through a design change and production quickly moved to the basement.
In 1981 I invented my first injection molded part ” The Rix Rax”
Under layout mounting bracket for twin coil switch machines.
For many years twin coil switch machines were very popular for controlling turnouts with the push of a button. But not many ways were offered to mount the machines to the layout. I designed this mounting bracket which went under the layout so that it couldn’t be seen from above. It had an adjustable fulcrum for creating different amounts of travel and the slight angle corrected a travel issue with the machine. I named it ” The Rix Rax” I made many prototypes from balsawood to get it working the way I wanted and with the help from my dad we found a local mold maker (Henry Wolf of Briton Mold) to build an injection mold from my balsawood model. This was the first time I’d ever seen an injection mold. Henry help me find a local molder to run parts from my new mold and I was up and running.
My first production crew at the dining room table. Two of my sister in-laws, Shirrie (in white) and Lisa (in green) and two of their friends helped fill some of the first orders. I paid them with Kool-Aid and Pizza.
Between 1981 and 1983 I came out with several more plastic products.
Rix Rail-it for HO Scale
Rix Rail-it for N Scale
Our own Twin Coil Switch Machine which required a punch press, winding machine and a 16 cavity mold.
1983 Rix Products in the basement with Twin Coil Winding machine.
My first desk.
The first phase of the winding machine I built to produce our Twin Coil Switch Machine. It could wind 10 coils at a time and evolved many times over the years.
1993-1995 I added more items to the line of products.
Rix Rax Flat
Rix Ajusto Pad (That’s how I spelled it.)
Rix Pivoting Turnout Linkage. (PTL)
1985 We moved to our new building behind the house.
40 X 50 building built behind the house.
Dad & I doing the sidewalk frame work.
Ready to pour the concrete.
Building work stations
Throttle assembly area
Vicky at the winding machine. Rusty in the chair and Rogy in the swing.
Vicky running the winding machine. Finished coils are on the right side of her. Note it’s new design from before.
Maxwell Ave. House Kit hits the market.
My Grandma Rideout lived on Maxwell Avenue and the center house below was modelled after her home.
The first production run of the house kit.
Four Color boxes for the kit.
Filling the first orders. Rogy helping out.
The house kit required 5 molds in total and with the production run of all 5 molds and 4 color printed box it was a very expensive kit to put on the market. It took years to recover my investment.
Trade Shows we attended over the years.
My first show was at Princeton IN with my first product the Rix PowerPlus Handheld Throttle.
Second show was Orlando Florida. 1980
Dad’s first trip in his new bus. My display layout was built to fit in the compartment under the bus.
Cincinnati OH. Model Railroad Industry Association. 1981
After the first two shows I was running low on locomotives. ( I coupled 10 loco’s together and ran them the whole show around the layout showing off what the Rix Throttle could do) I needed more locos and didn’t really have the money to just go out and buy all new ones. (They were like $20,00 each back then) So I called Athearn (Manufacture of model train locos) and they put me though to Irv Athearn himself. (The owner) I was in shock. I told Irv about my throttle and that I needed more loco’s to go to the Cincinnati show. He up and said “I’ll send you some, how many do you need?” About a week later I received a box with a dozen Athearn locomotives in it. (Free). I had a sign made that said, Special thanks to Athearn .
The Cincinnati OH show had 11,000 people come through the doors. My booth is in the center of this photo. A friend of my name Ron B. was manning the booth.
Dallas Texas 1982
Dad & his bus taking us to many shows.
Dallas is where we won the Creative Excellent Award for the Rix Rax.
With a small budget I couldn’t afford to rent all the show items. So I brought all of my own display. Home made tables (curtains Vicky made). Stools, banner and no carpeting. When they brought the award to my booth they commented that even the little guy can win.
Taken after the Awards Banquet.
Vicky, Rusty and I in front of the dad’s bus.
Mail Show in Chicago 1981
Hobby Industry Show In Atanta 1982
Son Rusty at a show with the Rix Rail-it
Chicago Hobby Show 1995
Big changes in 1995. Built a new building and purchased our first molding machines.
Clearing out our new location.
Dad over seeing the new foundation.
Building starting to go up.
Our new home
1995 Our first injection molding machines.
I purchased Hughes Tool Shop and took over doing our own injection molding. We moved the machine from Henderson KY to our new location in 1995.
One of three Jaco molding machines
First part molded in the new building.
I designed new doors for the Jaco’s.
Pretty plan inside, bought my first fork lift to unload the 1000 pound boxes of material.
Purchased two Reed injection molding machines. 1995
We’re now able to produce out entire product line.
I ended up with two of them.
They needed lots of cleaning.
Our first new Van Dorn injection molding machine. 2001
2001 We’re out of space.
Remember sister in-laws Lisa (white) and Shirrie (blue) from the dining room table Rix Rax production team back in 1981. Here they are again. Lisa worked for me for many years.
In 2001 we added a 50x60' addition on to give us more room.
New Gorbel overhead crane installed.
Some assembly required
I set this much up all by myself.
Vicky checking it out.
Tool Room Added
I hired Bernard Hughes and put on a tool room so we could do some new products.
New Prototrak Milling Machine
Bernard Hughes and I with the new machine.
The new Prototrak CNC milling machine out of the skid.
New CNC Surface Grinder is next.
Vicky wondering what else am I going to purchase.
Bernard working his magic.
Tool room starting to take shape. Now with an EDM machine
How the tool room looks today.
Moving into the new addition.
2003 Van Dorn 170 is added.
Dad and I overseeing the unloading.
Dad, Bernard, Rogy (son) & me.
2003 Van Dorn 120 Unloaded at night in the rain.
This Machine is our 2nd 120 with an 6 oz injection unit. It was delivered on Dec 22 2003 (My wife said to pick out something for Xmas) We unloaded this machine at night during a rain storm. I didn't get to many pictures of the unloading. 🙁
Dad guiding me in.
Rusty (son) keeping an eye on the skates.
2004 Van Dorn 400 ton arrives.
2006 Destroyed Van Dorn
I purchased this machine and when it was being moved to load on the truck to be shipped here, it slipped off the skates ( rollers ) and flipped over. At this point it was my machine, I got my money back. These machines are very top heavy when not full of oil and they can't be shipped with oil in them. If they lean over very far they will go on over. As this rigger found out.
On the same day in 2006 we unloaded another 2 Van Dorn's 120 & 170.
All the Van Dorn's lined up.
2015 Our first all electric machine Sumitomo SE180EV
2015 we add on again with our largest project
2015 Arburg 470e Our second electric machine
Arburg 470e electric/hydraulic machine from Germany.
2020 Arburg 270s added
Vicky & Jeremy (Bother in-law)
I wanted to do this as a comparison.
It's a big difference from the first Jaco's to my latest Arburg to produce many of our model railroad kits.
Plus I haven't aged a bit. haha.
To be continued