While not ‘real’ Lectron System models using the Greger magnetic blocks, Braun branded a series of so-called Bastel-sätze ‘hobby kits’ which required soldering as Braun Lectrons.
My research colleague Günther Stabe has prepared a very special video overview of the seven hobby kits and then a video demonstration for each of them. Mr. Stabe is a very talented engineer in his own right and has created working models of the five hobby kits that were never productized by Braun!
Only two hobby kits were released to the market place for sale. The AM radio and the intercom. There were also other kits which were listed as being ‘in development’. These included a sound level meter, an anti-theft warning system, a telephone adapter, a phonograph amplifier, and a remote control system. Unfortunately, as far as I can determine, only the radio and the intercom system were actually productized and sold.
The first hobby kit was the Rundfunkempfänger (Hobby Set Radio Receiver). It was an AM radio with a simple tuner and a volume control. Packaging for this model varied between a styrofoam mold, a blister pack, or assembled in its own box (very rare).
A unique feature specific only to this kit was the lack of a power switch. Instead, a mercury switch was used which turned the radio on based upon the radio’s orientation. Looking at the left hand graphic below, you can see the mercury switch at the bottom of the graphic. In the vertical position, the radio is off, in the horizontal, it is on.
Curiously, the German version of the guide does not mention the mercury switch.
This was also the only Bastel-sätze kit which was exported to the US and was imported exclusively by Creative Playthings of Princeton, NJ.
The kit included an English language instruction manual which had additional detailed assembly pages absent from the German language counterpart. The details on the installation angle of the mercury power switch was especially helpful.
The second (and last) kit which made it to the market place was a wire based intercom system – the Wechselsprechanlage model. It was half duplex only meaning that only one side could listen while the other side was talking and vice versa. The red button unit was the master and the green button was the remote. The remote could independently initiate a conversation without the master unit having to do anything such as being placed in receive mode that other similar intercom systems would require.
This is a very rare model to find, especially unassembled.
The cover was issued in two versions – one did not have the word ‘Lectron’ to the right of the Braun logo while the other version did. Lectron.Info’s version (shown above) did not have the ‘Lectron’ word.
The Schallpegel-messer (sound level meter) appeared on only one Braun price list from 1967-SEP-01. Interestingly, the intercom was not on this price list. This was Braun’s first price list after acquiring the Lectron System sales agency from Deutsche Lectron. It was not listed with a price signalling that it was ‘in development’. It was also not listed on any subsequent price list. I was very fortunate (thanks to Mr. Stabe) to acquire its PCB (printed circuit board) with my acquisition of a Braun sales representative briefcase model (there were two models – the other was a suitcase sized unit with a complete 8300 model inside with the styrofoam mounted in the lid and the base plate hinged into the bottom section).
This proposed hobby kit was very likely an acoustic triggered switch (Klatsch-Schalter). American readers will be familiar with the infamous ‘Clapper’ device. Clap on clap off. Too bad that this hobby kit was not productized. This one could have been very useful to most households the world over!