The J.B. marque is one of England’s more ephemeral and hence less well-remembered model engine ranges. The letters of the engines’ trade-name stand for the initials of their instigator, Jack Ballard, a former Managing Director of the E.D. company.
The range included both diesel and glow-plug models in 1 cc and 1.5 cc displacements. The first model to appear in October 1955 was the 1.5 cc Atom, which was joined in April 1956 by the Atomglow version as well as the 1 cc Bomb and Bombglow models. The latter models were based upon the same crankcase and crankshaft as the Atom and Atomglow, with the lesser displacement being accomplished entirely through a bore reduction.
This short-lived series was extremely well made, attractively presented and aggressively marketed, but the engines suffered from some fundamental material selection and production flaws which led to their rapid eclipse in the highly competitive British model engine market of the mid 1950’s. The range was only advertised for some 16 months, from October 1955 until January 1957. Good examples are quite rare today.
All of this is a great pity, because the engines were very capably designed in many respects, also being extremely well finished and enticingly packaged. Despite their failure to establish themselves in the British marketplace, the manufacturers undeniably showed themselves to be well capable of producing model engines of real quality and marketing them effectively.
A detailed history and analysis of the J.B. range will be found elsewhere on this website.