Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, March 01, 2014 11:09 AM

Those are the switches that I was talking about and it is great to see a photo of them.  I acquired a set similar to the set Mersenne6 showed on page 10, except I did not get the switches, only the remains of one of the switches (the long tie at the end of the switches that goes between the two sets of track).  However, I got a similar passenger set and similar freight set.  The only difference I saw relating to Mersenne6's set is that I have a more unusual gondola with my set.  My understanding of American Flyer cars / production features, leads me to believe that this car dates to 1915-1916 production, which would be slightly earlier than the 1109 with winged locomotive that Mersenne6 shows with his set.  However, since the set was apparently cataloged for a couple of years in the mid to late teens, there are likely differences between the differing sets, depending on when they were produced.

 

The gondola that came with my #20 set was the brown one pictured below.

 

 
I know that this unusual and early 1109 gondola also came in green
 
 
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Posted by ADCX Rob on Saturday, March 01, 2014 12:33 PM

Northwoods Flyer
What other Flyer equipment did you inherit from your cousins? Inquiring minds want to know.  Wink

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Just the passenger set.  I have a large freight set with link couplers that I assumed came with the only other Flyer steamer I have, it is much larger & longer, and is missing leading and trailing trucks.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Saturday, March 01, 2014 2:19 PM
 
Well, I see we have already uploaded a catalog cut and a picture of the switches so I guess all that is left is to post a picture of them in use.
 
 I'm also adding a better picture of the M20 set...along with a few non-set items.
 
 
NWL - I puzzled over the gondola too but it is/was a boxed one owner set so my guess is the same as yours - it was offered for several years and the gondola marks it as a slightly later manufacture.
 
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, March 02, 2014 4:00 PM

Mersenne6,

Those are great pictures.  It is a treat to see a complete set and to see those switches "in action".

I have a reprint of the American Flyer 1914 catalog that was done by TTOS  in 1980.  In the body of the catalog it says that it was a reprint of the 1914 catalog reprinted by TCA in 1961.  This is the cover.

The layout is very similar to the set that you have.

The inside of the front cover does show and describe the M20 set.  The text on this page and several others makes me wonder if this was intended to be a consumer catalog or a dealer catalog.

One of the pages toward the end of the catalog illustrates track and accessories, and there is the Double Track Switch 

No. M218

And the left and right switches that have been posted previously.

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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, March 02, 2014 6:16 PM

...and if you look at No. MBS in the upper right corner of the last page you posted you can see this automatic brake section below the outside locomotive in the first picture I posted in my last post.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, March 05, 2014 1:55 PM

mersenne6,

I noticed the target at trackside by the double switch in your first picture and I wondered what it was.  Thanks for pointing out that it is the automatic brake section.  Those Flyer folks were pretty clever people.   I really like seeing the entire set displayed.  Thanks for posting the photos.

NationWideLines said:

"Here are pictures of another set of early switches.  These are Flyer switches and I am guessing they date to the mid to late teens, c. 1917-1918.  These switches are identifiable by the two ties at the ends of the switches.  These are banked ties and their means of attachment are to punch out areas on each side of the rail and bend it up over the bottoms of the rail.  This is how Flyer was attaching the rails to track during this time.

 
I did note that the switch on the right side of the photo appears to have had the switch lever repaired, in that it has been re-soldered to the track so that the actual lever is on the left instead of right side of the track. 
 
 
 
 
 
None of these switches are marked as to who or where they were made.  I can only guess that the first set of switches might be Flyer and am fairly certain that the second set is Flyer."
  
   
   
Recently I was asked by the local historical society to identify some toy trains that they have in their collection.  As I was going through the items I came across an American Flyer clockwork set. I've been doing some research on the set and will write a post about it later.  When NWL posted the photos of the American Flyer switches above I recognized them as being very similar to the switches that came with the Historical Society's set.
The photos that follow are of items that belong to the Marathon County Historical Society.
The track that came with the set had banked ties and the rails are fastened to the ties by the same method that NWL describes.
 
The interesting thing is that the throws for the switches are of a different design.
 
So here we have yet another variation of the switches used in clockwork American Flyer sets.
  
  
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Edit:
NationWideLines believes that these switches may be Hafner switches.  See his post below.

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Posted by Bluecomet390 on Thursday, March 06, 2014 1:33 AM
One of these sets recently turned up on Vancouver Island in full excellent condition. You never know where something rare like this will show up.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Thursday, March 06, 2014 8:50 AM

Hello Bluecomet390,

Welcome  Welcome to the thread.  I assume that the set you are referring to is the M20 that Mersenne6 has photos of in his post above. One of the things I enjoy about collecting of any type (but especially American Flyer trains) is that they turn up at unexpected times and in unexpected places. I also enjoy the stories of how the trains were found.

What else can you tell us about the set that turned up on  Vancouver Island?

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Thursday, March 06, 2014 8:13 PM

Northwoods,

 

I believe that the switches you have shown may be Hafner items.  I know that the early flyer catalogs 1916-1919 show the windup switches having the switch levers/throws similar to the ones on the pair of switches that I have.  I have seen other switches like yours being advertised as Hafner switches.  Since Hafner's early years were somewhat of a divergence from American Flyer after Mr. Hafner left Flyer, I can see where the general appearance of their switches might be similar, but yet the two companies would wanted to distinguish themselves from each other, and possibly having different switch levers/throws may have been the way.

 

Since the Flyer catalogs tend to show the switch levers/throws similar to the switches I have and the last railroad ties are similar to the Flyer track, which is also shown in the Flyer catalogs, I would guess that the switches I have are definitely American Flyer production. 

However, I cannot be certain as to what company produced the switches you have shown.

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, March 09, 2014 4:10 PM

NationWideLines,

Thanks for the heads up on the switches. How these switches got in with the American Flyer set will just remain a mystery for the ages.  I'll guess that the original owner was a lucky boy who got extra track and equipment for his train set.

In keeping with our recent theme of clockwork trains let me complete the collection of photos of the types of track available in the 1914 catalog.

In the upper left of the above photo you can see the No. MX Crossover.

The crossover below is included in the American Flyer set that belongs to The Marathon County Historical Society.  It has been damaged and re-soldered.

 

 

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Posted by David Barker on Monday, March 10, 2014 4:11 PM

Awesome

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:34 AM

After seeing a very disturbing sale on ebay, I thought I would post some information about the following item.

 

Perceived Prewar Hat

 
 
 
 
While there are original hats out there similar to the above item, the above item is not an original.  A reproduction similar to the one above recently sold on ebay for close to $225, and what was disturbing to me is that the seller, whom I find to be a know nothing and distasteful entity, sold the item as a prewar hat with dirt/grime, and no other descriptive information.  It is also obvious that the two high bidders were unaware that the item had been reproduced in the past.
 
The problem is that a 44 year old reproduction (much like an older restoration) will have dirt and age appropriate wear.
 
You might ask, how I know the one above and the one recently sold on ebay are fakes, the key is the "M" on the side, which denotes a hat size ( I have also seen hats with the size of "S" on them).  The originals do not feature a hat size and were made in one size only.  I have seen originals, but am not fortunate enough to own one at this time. 
 
My understanding is that the reproductions were made for the 1970 TCA convention in Chicago.  At that time the TCA was not into requiring items to be marked as reproductions, like it is now. 

My condolences to the person who recently bought the reproduction on ebay, as in my opinion you were taken in by a fraudster.

 

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Posted by David Barker on Sunday, March 16, 2014 6:05 AM

Awesome

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, March 23, 2014 3:59 PM

3107 Variations  -  Update

The 3107 has been featured in posts on this tread a number of times.  The most recent post was back on page 82  For an engine that only appeared in the catalog from 1930 through 1932 it certainly has gathered a lot of attention.

In Greenberg's Guide to American Flyer Prewar O Gauge Schuweiler lists 7 variations of this Midsized Box Cab.  After a recent purchase I now have 3 of them.

On the bottom left is variation (A); bottom right is variation (B); on top is what I believe is an undocumented variation (making a possible 8th variation.).   

All of the variations are very similar to each other.  The distinguishing characteristic for Variation (A) is that it has one "3107" plate and one "American Flyer Lines" plate on each side.

Variation (B) has two "American Flyer Plates" per side'

Both of these engines came with matching green cars and make up the Frontenac set.

The variation on the top is distinguished by its blue-green body and darker blue-green roof. It has one "#3107" and one "American Flyer Lines" plate on each side. I believe this is from the 1932 Bluebird set.  It has matching blue cars.


 Variations (A) and (B) have a manual reverse,which is operated by the lever protruding through the roof in front of the pantograph at the end opposite the headlight. Variations (F) and (G) which Schuweiler describes as being medium blue or darker blue-green have remote reversing.  As you can see in the photos my example has a manual reverse lever protruding through the roof like Variations (A) and (B)

Most of the other variations have a remote-control reverse.  These have the windows in the end doors punched out to accommodate a reverse lockout lever.

The three examples here have their end windows in the door un-punched.

There is always another variation to look for when collecting American Flyer.


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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:24 PM

The Frontenac   -  Set #1322

As a follow up to the previous post on #3107 Midsized Boxcabs I thought I would post photos of two sets.

Frontenac sets appear in the 1930 through 1932 catalogs.  

In 1930 it  is headed up by a manual reverse 3107 in set 1322 and it is called "The FRONTENAC". 

 

 In 1931 it is renamed "FRONTENAC" and is headed by a 3107 with a remote control reverse.  This set is numbered 1382.  The #1322 set is still cataloged and has the manual reverse, although its description appears in a blue outlined box under the featured #1382 set. 

 

In 1932 the "FRONTENAC" is cataloged again.  It is the #1382 with the remote control reverse.  The manual reverse set  #1322 is no longer listed.

 

My two sets both are headed by manual reverse #3107.  So I assume they are from 1930-1931.

 

 
All of the cataloged sets come with a 3150 baggage, 3161 lighted pullman and a lighted 3162 Observation.  The cars in both of my sets are identical.
 
The main difference is the engines.  One set is headed by #3107 (A) and the other by #3107 (B)
 
The only major difference that I can see is the difference in the brass identification tags.
 
 
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, April 06, 2014 10:24 PM

3017  Caboose variation

There are several other postings on cabooses and particularly the 3107 here on the thread.

They occur on  page 2426, and page 61.

On page 61 strainst posted about 2 cars that he had purchased.  He posted an interesting variation of the 3017 caboose.


I recently came across a similar version.

Other than the obvious difference that strainst's example has a Lionel latch coupler, they appear to be identical.

The one other difference that may be present is that the cupola and its roof are a lighter red than the body and main roof of the caboose on my example.

The "AFL" and "American Flyer" on both examples are stamped in silver.

 

The most interesting part of this variation is the green base and the yellow ladders - both of which appear to be original.

Both examples of this variation are stamped "3017" in black on the bottom of the frame.

As far as dating is concerned, the 3017 was cataloged in 1930-1932 and again in 1934-1936.  The type VIII truck was used from 1933-1938. My guess is that this variation dates from the 1934-1936 time period.  I think we have another variation.

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:55 AM

Northwoods,

 

I would suggest that the cupola and its roof on your caboose are not original to that car.  The embossing of the window frames and roof with no ribs, as well as the overall shape of the cupola and roof are different from the Chicago era Flyer cabooses.  It almost looks like it might be a roof from a 3/16 Gilbert caboose.

 

The green frame caboose is an interesting item.  It would look really sharp with a green roof, like the following caboose. 

 

 
As for the yellow painted ladders/railings, I have a couple of lithographed cabooses c. 1931 with yellow painted ladders/railings, so they are something that do show up on occasion.
 
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Posted by Nationwidelines on Tuesday, April 08, 2014 10:00 AM

Northwoods,

 

I would guess that your caboose more likely dates to the 1931-1932 era, as opposed to the later era.  My experience is that there are fewer paint color variations on the later production items.  However, I know that I have a c. 1935 - 1114 caboose with a green roof, so there were some color variations on the later cars too.

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:29 PM

NationWideLines,

Thanks for the catch on the cupola on the caboose.  It does look like a Gilbert era caboose cupola.

Nationwidelines

Northwoods,

 

I would guess that your caboose more likely dates to the 1931-1932 era, as opposed to the later era.  My experience is that there are fewer paint color variations on the later production items.  However, I know that I have a c. 1935 - 1114 caboose with a green roof, so there were some color variations on the later cars too.

 

NWL

I based the date of the caboose to the later time frame because the type VIII trucks weren't produced until 1933. I was basing that on the Greenberg Guide that lists the Type VIII truck as being produced from 1933-1938, and the 3017 didn't reappear in the catalog until 1934 after disappearing in 1933.  Of course we all know that errors have sneaked into that resource. At least there are two examples that I know of with the green base and red body with Type VIII trucks.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Thursday, April 10, 2014 5:54 AM

Northwoods Flyer
 

 

I based the date of the caboose to the later time frame because the type VIII trucks weren't produced until 1933. I was basing that on the Greenberg Guide that lists the Type VIII truck as being produced from 1933-1938, and the 3017 didn't reappear in the catalog until 1934 after disappearing in 1933.  Of course we all know that errors have sneaked into that resource. At least there are two examples that I know of with the green base and red body with Type VIII trucks.

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Northwoods,

 

My experience is that the Greenberg's guide is not perfect as far as production dates.  I recently obtained a 1931 Smoky Mountain set from the original owner's family.  I know it was 1931 because of the 3300 engine that came with the set.  The tender, log car, and tank car in that set both feature type VIII trucks on them, with the rest of the cars featuring type VII trucks.  In fact all of the 3301 tenders I have seen from 1931 (which are unique because they feature gloss black paint in 1931 only) feature the type VIII trucks.  So it seems that the type VIII trucks first appeared in 1931 as opposed to 1933.  Therefore, your caboose could have been from the earlier period of production.

 

NWL

 

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, April 20, 2014 7:13 PM

3019 Large Boxcab

I was poking around in some boxes under the Blueboard Central and I came across this engine.  I forgot that I had it, so I decided that it was time to add it to the thread.

The 3019 Large  Boxcab is listed in the 1923 and 1924 catalogs. 

It is a less expensive version of the 3020 Boxcab.


The obvious difference being that the 3019 lacks front and rear pony trucks.

Some detail photos.

The 3019 was designed to use the auxilary lighting set that made use of a wire to connect to the Illini passenger cars to provide power to the interior lights.

Schuweiler, in the Greenberg guide, lists variations with a black body and maroon windows, this dark green version with red windows, and a brown version with yellow windows. 

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:40 PM

Set 1720-R  

Baltimore and Ohio Passenger Set from 1936

Back on page 83 I posted several entries about 4 car Wide/Low Profile passenger sets.  At that time I didn't have an example of the set from 1936. Since then I have been able to assemble a set.  So here are some photos of the 1936 version. 

 I'd love to have a set as it is illustrated in the catalog with silver finished cars.  I know that the catalog says that the colors may vary but I wonder if this set ever came with the silver cars.

All four cars are lighted and the engine has a headlight and the red fire box light, which you can just see reflecting off the wheels.

The primary unique aspect of this set is that it came with a #3199 tender with the gold box at the front.

Its a fun train to run with the lights off.

Here is the original posting.

The transition from the Coleman period of production in Chicago to Gilbert production in New Haven saw a number of changes in the O gauge line.  I'd like to illustrate some of those changes in the following entries that focus on a 4 car passenger set.  Engines change, tenders change, trucks change and couplers change.

Wide/Low profile cars were first introduced by American Flyer in 1930. In the 1936 catalog four of these cars were matched up with a Type VIII engine and a #3199 tender.

 

The description of the cars states that "Color Subject to Change" .  The illustration uses the silvery surfaced cars that were used in the Century set headed by the Aeoleus engine in 1935.  In the 1936 catalog the 4 car set is called the Baltimore and Ohio passenger set.

 

In 1937 the Baltimore and Ohio passenger set appears in the catalog with blue and silver cars.

 

 
It still has a Type VIII engine but its now paired with a #1620 tender.
 
 
There are 3- #3171 passenger coaches and a #3172 observation.  The cars have type VIIIb trucks
 
 
 
And Type VII couplers
 
 
 
I assembled this set over the course of several years.  I discovered that the cars have two different types of decals at each end of the car sides - "American Flyer" and "Pullman"
 
 


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Posted by Grizzly Adams on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 7:03 PM

Very informative thread!  Here is my humble contribution.  I believe it is a #401 from about 1940.  :)

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, May 03, 2014 6:10 PM

Hi Grizzly Adams,

Welcome  to the thread.

Your engine does look like an example of the 401 from 1940.  Its known as a Type XX engine made of sheet metal.  It was cataloged from 1934 to 1935 and again from 1937 to 1940.  It was used in a number of sets both cataloged and uncataloged.  It underwent a number of changes through out its history.

The nickle trim is what gives the clue that your engine is from 1940.  American Flyer gave nickel trim to a number of its engines in that year.

Here is my example of the 401 from 1940

And here is an example of the 401 from 1939.  You will notice that the trim is either copper or brass.

What I noticed about your engine is that it seems to be a mixture of copper and nickle.  The stack on your engine appears to be copper and the rest of the trim is nickle.

Here is a closer look at the top of the 1939 and 1940 version.

The mixture of trims on your engine is an interesting variation.

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Posted by Grizzly Adams on Monday, May 05, 2014 8:47 PM

Thank you Northwoods Flyer.  I appreciate the information!  I am trying to learn as much as I can about these great old electric trains, and this thread has been very valuable.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, May 07, 2014 10:13 PM

You are welcome Grizzly Adams.  I'm glad you are finding some helpful information here.

Here is another example of the Type XX engine.

This is the engine as it was cataloged in 1938.

Its numbered 4603 (although no number appears on the engine itself) and is painted a gun metal gray.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, May 09, 2014 7:50 AM
That model does not have reverse and your guess as to the mechanism at the back being a whistle is correct. It is not the best whistle mechanism and is more of a constant sounding whistle. I have several engines with that particular whistle and I think that only one of them is a strong sounding whistle. The rest of them cannot be heard above the sound of the train running. I think your numbering of the engine is wrong. I believe the tender that typically comes with that engine is numbered 1121 and am not sure what number the engine would be. As you probably noticed, that engine uses the same boiler as the 401 that you showed in an earlier post.
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 2:59 PM

I agree with  NationWideLines;  I've noticed that my Type XX engines with the whistle are also very soft.  I think that only one of my examples works.  I have a sheet metal Hiawatha with the same whistle mechanism in it and it is much easier to hear.

Lets continue with the theme of the Type XX sheet metal steam locomotive.

1938 Set No. 2  Freight Train

The 1938 catalog is a mixture of old Chicago American Flyer and Gilbert American Flyer Equipment. 

The Type XX engine which is a carry over from Chicago Flyer production appears in several sets.

This is Set No. 2  Freight Train

The set consists of:

4603 Remote Control Locomotive and Tender

3019 Dump Car

3015 Box  Car

3018 Tank Car

3017 Caboose

Flyer made use of the Type XX steam engine for a number of good looking sets.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:18 AM

1938  Set No. 1   Passenger Train

On the same page with the No.2 Freight Train the No.1 Passenger Train is shown.

This set consists of:


It uses the same 4603 Remote Control Locomotive and Tender

1 - 1214 Baggage Car

2 - 1213 Passenger Cars with Lights

1 - 1217 Observation with Light

I think its another excellent use of the Type XX sheet metal steam locomotive; this time paired with the smaller passenger cars. Any child would have been excited to have this set delivering passengers to different towns and stations around the layout.

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