Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by LL675 on Friday, February 03, 2017 7:51 PM
thanks...didn't realize this was two different pieces. better spend more tome looking this thread over before I get my feet wet.

Dave

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, February 04, 2017 2:30 PM

ILLINI / COLUMBIA Variaions...

I know this topic has been covered before by myself and Mersenne6, but I have a couple of items to add to the discussion.

First some background on the Illini type cars.  The Illini and Columbia coaches were introduced in the top of the line 20th Century set in 1922, with the new NYC type T locomotive.  Early Illini coaches are dark green and the early Columbia coaches were brown.  There was no true observation car in these early sets, just a coach with little porthole type markers on one end.  In approximately 1925 American Flyer started making observation cars.  Also, in or aound 1925 switched the colors of the cars, the Illini cars became a lighter green and the Columbia coaches became more of a maroon color.  For whatever reasons, the Columbia cars were discontinued in or around 1925/26.  All I really can say about this is that there are few maroon sets.

American Flyer kept the Illini cars in their top of the line O gauge sets through 1927.  In 1928 the top of the line O gauge sets become enamel painted cars and the Illini cars are not shown in the catalogs after 1927.  Although not shown in the catalogs, the Illini cars did not completely disappear until approximately 1932???  The later production of these cars appears to be limited to lower priced offerings by various department stores / wholesalers.  JC Penney used these bodies in one of their store branded Nation Wide Lines trains and Montgomery Ward showed the cars in sets in the 1929-1930 era catalogs.  The later, uncataloged cars also kept up with Flyer's production as extremely late sets are found with gray trucks, instead of black trucks. 

Getting back to the point of my post, I would like to show some pictures of sets that transitioned the 1925-1926 era.

First here are some pictures of a number of different variations of these sets.

The above picture shows a number of variations from the 1922 through approximately 1925 era.

The above picture shows sets from the 1927 through 1932 era.  This photo shows some of the changes that occurred during the late production, such as the roof ventilators on the cars disappearing after approximately 1927-1928 and the trucks changing from black to gray paint.

During the 1925 to 1926 era, as production features changed on these cars, some variation crossovers appear.  First off the below set features a Maroon 3020 engine, brown baggage, brown coach (with observation portholes), and maroon observation.  This is a boxed set, with setbox and all boxes are correctly labeled for brown/maroon colors.

Brown Baggage with early style trucks

 

Brown Coach with later style trucks

Portholes on Brown Coach

Maroon Observation

Next up is a set c. 1925 that is believed to have been sold through Butler Brothers as a 7000 series uncataloged set that included accessories (station, tunnel, signals, and 2 trees) as shown in a c. 1925 Butler Brothers catalog.  I believe this to be true as I acquired several boxes of track that was marked with Butler Brothers numbers and two trees from the seller, who purchased this set along with several accessories from the original owner's family.

This set features light green 3020, dark green baggage, light green coach, dark green observation, all with the harpoon couplers that were found only on Illini and Columbia cars. I have found that it is unusual to find the light green cars with harpoon couplers.

So the next set represents a bit of a hodge podge of stuff, as the cab on the 3020 is numbered 3019 and came in a box marked 3020, came with a brown baggage car and a light green coach, all with harpoon couplers.

 

Next up is one of those late oddities.  As mentioned, American Flyer was making many changes to their line over the years.  In addition to the colors of the cars changing, American Flyer changed the truck styles, changed the coupler styles, changed the door handle styles, changed from the roofs having ventilator bumps to being smooth roofs, and discontinued the use of air tanks on the cars. 

So the following set is a boxed set dating to 1926.  The set features a black 3014 engine, light green baggage, light green coach, and dark green observation, all cars having hook couplers and air tanks.  It is very unusual to find air tanks on the cars with hook couplers,  I know Mersenne6 has a set, but I do not recall the details of his set.  It is also very unusual to find the dark green bodied cars with hook couplers. 

The dark green observation car, shown above, appears to have had one side put in the press wrong, as the observation railing and body did not fit together well, when I got it.  I had to take it apart and make a slight adjustment to the body so that they would fit together better.  I discovered that the body has a very small rail that sits flat on the frame and that there was a small area that would normally sit flat on the frame, but due to the body being in the press wrong, there was a small flap of metal that would normally be flat along the frame, but was bent inward from the side and was mis-aligning with the observation railing and causing the whole end of the car not to fit well together.  I adjusted it and the car fits together better. 

The last unusual Illini series car I have is a car from c. 1932.  This is the latest illini set that I can put a specific date to.  I attribute it to 1932 simply because of the engine, which features a casting that was not introduced until 1932.  This set came to me as a boxed set, with setbox and individual box for the engine.  I believe the tender and cars were likely wrapped in wax paper.

The engine is most unusual, in that it features a bell, which is attached by a screw from the bottom (as these die cast engines typically had a cast bell that had a shaft protruding through the casting that was then peened/pressed to hold it in place) and the motor is an early style that was typically found in a cast iron cab.

There is also one other feature that makes this engine special, its original box, which is marked 3357 Loco, a number that has not been reported previously.

The tender with the engine is also the earlier style body that is punched for the standard gauge sized square plates, but is decaled instead.

So the transition part of the cars on this set, is found in the baggage car doors.

The doors are dark green with the early style cast door handles.  Obviously someone found some old parts (doors) and put them on this car at the factory.  I have also seen late light green cars with brown doors, which would be from a Columbia baggage car.

The coach has the rounded windows being un-punched.  It is thought that these un-punched windows is a result of the production of the JC Penney Nation Wide Lines cars, which featured the same bodies, but a different lithograph and did not have these arched windows, and no need for there to be punched windows in this area.

 

 

Lastly, the observation car

Mersenne 6, please re-post the photos of your set with the hook couplers and air tanks.  I would appreciate more information on that set.

 

NWL

 

 

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, February 05, 2017 8:25 AM

Yet another variant to go with these cars. 

This unusual 3020 appears to be all original and is the second such 3020 like this observed by myself.  The "what is it?" factor really applies to this one.  A 3020 body on a c. 1927 frame, with harpoon couplers?????  How can this be?? 

I acquired this locomotive with two Illini series cars, a dark green baggage car and a dark green coach.  The dark green engine body is a match to the era from which these cars would have been produced.

My thoughts are that this unusual 3020, along with the other one I previously saw, is that they are items that were repaired / serviced by the American Flyer factory some time around 1927.  More specifically, my thoughts are that someone dropped their 3020 and broke the cast iron frame.  They sent their motor off for service and by that time American Flyer no longer had any cast iron frames for the 3020.  Hence, American Flyer modified a later frame and added the harpoon couplers from the original 3020 so that the now modified engine would still couple to the cars that the owner of the train had, thereby making a repair to satisfy the customer, using the parts that were available at the time.

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, February 05, 2017 7:59 PM

NationWideLines,

Great posts!  The information makes it easier to identify some of those odd combinations of cars and engines that show up now and then.  Thanks for the excellent photos too.

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Northwoods Flyer

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, February 05, 2017 8:23 PM

Back on July 24, 2013 I posted the following entry on the #203 and the #223 Flashing Signal.  I finally added a green version of the #233 to the collection. Here are some photos of the variations I have so far.

Northwoods Flyer

Flashing Signal #203 and #223     Addendum

Back on an earlier page NationWide Lines posted some photos of the #203 and #223 signals when we were cataloging wide gauge accessores.  I recently acquired a #223 in blue so I thought I would post it with my #203 Flashing Signal

The #203 without the operating lever is on the left in green and the #223 with the operating lever in blue is on the right.

 
A few more photos of the #223
 
 
 
 
 
This leads me to believe that the #203 probably comes in a blue version as well, particularly when the catalog shows the Flashing Signal in blue
 
 
I've re-posted NationWide Lines' entry below to keep the information together.
 
                                                         +++++++++++++++++++++++

Since Northwoods brought up the difference of the banjo signal with and without the operating arm, I thought of the following similar accessory, which was marketed as the 203 Flashing Signal (without operating lever) and 223 Flashing Signal (with operating lever).  Like the 202 and 222 Banjo Signal, this item first appeared in the 1930 Flyer catalog.

There are significant differences between the 203 and 223 versions of this accessory.  The 203 version does not have the moveable arms inside the top and the rear of the top is not punched out.  I have shown closeups of the 203 and 223 versions to show the operating mechanism.

 

223 on the left and 203 on the right in photo below

 

 
 
 
Front of 203
 
 
Rear of 203
 
 
Front of 223
 
 
Front of 223 with flashing arms half closed
 
Rear of 223 with arms up
 
 
Rear of 223 with arms down
 
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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, February 05, 2017 9:28 PM

Northwoods,

I guess we all miss something.  I never realized there were two different numbers associated with the flashing signal variations.

NWL

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, February 06, 2017 6:54 PM

 

NWL, here it is.

AF Jeffersonian

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Tuesday, February 07, 2017 6:26 AM

mersenne6

 

NWL, here it is.

AF Jeffersonian

 

Mersenne6,

Interesting, your set comes with the 3015 with the extra long pilots and handrails over the sand domes.  That is a variation that does not come along often.  I can only guess that your set is an early 1927 set.

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Thursday, February 09, 2017 7:14 PM

MYLAR!

Last weekend I splurged and ordered Mylar paper protectors for some of my unusually large and rare paper items, some of which are extremely fragile.  Tonight I carefully placed the items into the protectors.  Here are the results. 

C. 1917 newspaper ad

December 1922 Sunday Comics Ad from Seattle Post

c. 1925 American Flyer foldout announcing Wide Gauge side A

c. 1925 American Flyer foldout announcing Wide Gauge side B

For whatever reason, the above foldout dates to a very narrow time frame to around the end of April / early May of 1925, and are tough to find.  The wording of the text in American Flyer advertising of Wide Gauge changed significantly in late May of 1925.

c. November 1926 Denver Post advertisement aimed toward boys to gather subscriptions and earn a free train.

c. 1926 Sunday Comics advertisement

December 1926 Detroit Press advertisement that uses a specific boy's name to advertise American Flyer trains. 

A different December 1926 Detroit Press advertisement that again used a specific boy's name to advertise American Flyer trains.

In addition to the above items, I placed a number of mid 1930s Flyer foldouts into mylar sleeves.  Although it was somewhat pricey to buy these larger sleeves, it is worth it, as I was afraid to handle some of these items because they were so fragile, especially the Detroit Press pages.  Now I can show these to visitors without worry.

NWL

 

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, February 11, 2017 4:19 PM

Its time to add the 2016 Christmas story to the thread.

            An American Flyer Tale for Christmas

2016 Edition
 
 

More than anything Tim Lindahl wanted an electric train for Christmas.  Not just any electric train though, it had to be an American Flyer train.  But Tim knew that getting a train from Santa or anyone was impossible.  Earlier in the year the government had shut down all toy production so that the factories could put all of their energy into making things for the war.  Tim worried a lot about his Dad.  Many of his friends’ dads had been called to go to war.  He wondered what would happen to him and his younger brother and sisters, and their Mom if Dad had to leave.  His father worked for the great big Post Office in Chicago; the one where the trains came right into the building and were unloaded.  So far Dad hadn’t said anything about going to war and he didn’t seem to be worried.  Tim tried not to think about it.

 

When he wasn’t busy with school or chores Tim kept himself occupied looking at the toy train catalogs that he had saved from better times.  He had Lionel catalogs and American Flyer catalogs and catalogs from Sears and Montgomery Ward, but he found himself most often returning to the American Flyer catalogs.  He would close his eyes and imagine what a sleek passenger train or long freight train headed by a powerful steam engine would look like circling the Christmas tree.  He would imagine his hand on the throttle of the big black transformer sending the engine pounding down the track and then slowing it down so that it eased into the passenger station.  All of these fantasies would end the same way; Tim would open his eyes, sigh deeply and head off to play ball or help in the kitchen.

 

It was the tradition in Tim’s family that during the Thanksgiving weekend everyone would come up with a Christmas Wish list. Tim knew that you probably wouldn’t get everything on the list, but it was fun dreaming about it, and making the list.  When it was time to write their letters to Santa, Tim and his siblings would sit together at the big kitchen table and dreamed and wrote and dreamed and wrote some more.  Their parents were in the kitchen with them supervising the writing and making mental notes.  Tim thought for a long time before he wrote anything.  Eventually his note was short and to the point: “Dear Santa,  I know that things are tough for getting toys this year.  If the elves aren’t too busy making bombs could you see if they could make a train for me out of old spare parts?  Thanks;  Your obedient, well behaved, hard working friend,  Tim L.”

 

As Tim was finalizing his letter he noticed that his Dad was looking over his shoulder.  Dad glanced over at his Mother with a meaningful look on his face.  It was one of those times when Tim realized that some kind of communication had passed between his father and mother, but  he had no idea what it was.  When all of the children were done with their letters they each addressed an envelope to Santa at the North Pole and designed a postage stamp for their envelope.  Dad always took their letters to the big Post Office with him and made sure they got special handling to the North Pole.

 

As the days went by Tim wondered how Santa would find a way to bring him an American Flyer electric train.  He kept on dreaming about his train, and sometimes he even imagined that he had a whole empire of trains to run around the tree and across the living room floor.  He imagined street lights, and accessories and stations where the trains would stop and unload or load their passengers and freight,

 

One Saturday while Mom and Dad were out shopping and the rest of the kids were in various  places Tim was laying on the living room floor going through his catalogs for the millionth time.  He had each page memorized but still he turned them one by one and savored the colorfull illustrations of trains.  “Which one will Santa bring?” he wondered.  His reverie was disturbed by knocking at the front door.  He jumped up quickly and ran to the sturdy oak door.  He could see a hat and a man’s head through the windows in the upper fourth of the door.  He wasn’t expecting anyone to come to the house and Mom and Dad didn’t tell him to expect anyone either.  Cautiously he unlocked the door and pulled it open just enough to look out at the man standing there.  The man looked down at Tim and in a deep voice asked, “Does Ned Lindahl live here?”  “Yes he does.” Tim replied in a nervous sounding voice, “He’s my father.  But he isn’t here right now.  But he should be back any second.”  The man tipped his head to the side and eyed Tim up and down.  “Well here is the stuff we talked about.”  Only then did Tim notice that the man had a box in his hands a little bigger than a shoe box.  He held it out for Tim to take.  When Tim took it from him he noticed that it was very heavy. “Be sure to tell him that Mr. Winter left a box for him.” said the man and he turned to leave.  He took two steps, turned around and looked directly at Tim. “It woudn’t be a good idea for you to look in that box young man.”  The man walked down the stairs and Tim wasn’t sure, but he thought he could hear the man chuckling.

 

Tim carried the box to the table in the hall.  He stepped back from the box like it was a ticking time bomb.  “What is this all about?” he said to himself.  Before he had time to think about it there was another knocking at the front door.  Tim ran to the door and quickly opened it.  There stood another man holding a much larger box than the first one.  Tim recognized the mailman’s uniform that the man was wearing, but this was not their regular mailman Bill who was a friend of Dad’s.  “Hey kid, is your father at home?” “No” Tim replied, “But  he should be here any second.”  “Well tell him my wife says that we have to get rid of this stuff and he can have it.”  The man shifted the box a bit and it rattled. “Its pretty heavy kid.  Where can I put it?"  Tim led him to the table in the hall where the first box sat and the man put it down on the floor with a  heavy sounding thud.  The box was securely tied with clothesline done up in sturdy knots.  “Better not touch this before your Dad gets home.”  The uniformed man turned and headed for the door.  “Mister, who should I tell my dad dropped off the box?” The man smiled broadly and said “Just tell him you met one of Santa’s elves.”, and he closed the door behind him.  “One of Santa’s elves!” thought Tim; “Could he really be one of Santa’s elves?”

 

At that moment Tim could hear his parents coming in the back door.  He raced to meet them and started to pour out the story of the two boxes and the men who delivered them.  As he chattered on, his parents exchanged another one of those looks that communicated without words.  Tim’s mother spoke up and said “My, my what an adventure.  That sounds like a story you would hear on the radio.  I baked some cookies this morning and the milkman left some fresh milk in the box.  Let’s go and have a snack.”  Tim was a bit puzzled by his Mom’s reponse but the thought of fresh cookies and cold milk drew his attention.

 

After his snack he realized that Dad hadn’t joined them.  He found Dad reading the paper in the big easy chair in the living room and listening to the radio.  When Tim came into the room Dad asked “Say where are those boxes you said were delivered?”  Tim spun around to point to the table in the hall. The table was empty and both boxes were gone.  Tim’s mouth fell open and he turned back to his Dad. “They’re gone!” he exclaimed.  “So it seems.” Dad replied.  He quickly got up and put his hands on Tim’s shoulders.  “Let’s go get the sleds and find your brother and sisters.  With the fresh snow last night Garfield Hill should be perfect for sledding.

 

The time leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was busy and filled with activity and preparation.  The only time that Tim had any opportunity to think about Mr. Winter and Santa’s elf was when he dropped into bed at night, and even then it wasn’t very long because he almost immediately fell asleep.  As the time grew closer it seemed to Tim like the household got busier.  Mom and his sisters were busy making cookies and candy.  Dad worked some extra shifts at the Post Office because many of the other workers wanted to get their holiday preparations completed; and some of them had signed up to go into the armed services and anticipated leaving at any time.  Tim and his brother kept the sidewalks at their house shoveled, and they shoveled some of their neighbors’ walks too.  They were usually rewarded with a nickle, once in a while a dime, and frequently a candy cane.  When he could, Tim poured through his train catalogs and imagined the train that Santa might bring for him.

 

Finally it was Christmas Eve.  The tree and the house were decorated.  The house was filled with the wonderful aromas of baking and the special dishes Mom made for the Christmas feasting.  As the evening moved on Tim’s family got ready to go to church.  They all loved the Christmas Eve service because of the music, and the big fragrant fir that stood in the front of the Sanctuary with dozens of big brightly colored lights on it.  Tim especially liked the end of the service when everyone held lighted candles and sang “Silent Night”.  All of the Lindahl children liked the end of the service because it meant that they could hurry home to see if Santa had been to their house and left their presents.  Some years he left them while the family was at church and some years he waited until they were all in bed asleep, and they would find them in the morning.

 

Once they arrived at their front door after the walk home from church Tim and his siblings all crowded up against their father as he stood unlocking the door.  Each wanted to be the first to see if their presents were under the tree.  As soon as Dad had the door open there was the thundering sound of four pair of feet running through the house.  Tim’s brother got to the tree first this year and he stopped dead in his tracks.  The rest of the children ran right into him almost knocking him over.  Tim could see over the heads of his siblings and was immediately disappointed that the base of the tree was just as empty as it had been when they left for church.  Mom and Dad were standing at the entry to the living rrom when Dad said “Well it looks like St. Nick hasn’t made it here yet.  He must have gotten delayed in Tierra del Fuego.  I guess that means there is only one thing left for you to do.”  As if they had practiced a synchronized move, all four of Ned Lindahl’s children turned and thundered up the stairs to their bedrooms and were in bed before Mom and Dad had their coats off. 

 

It took a few minutes for Tim to fall asleep.  He kept thinking over and over “I hope Santa brings me a train.  I hope Santa brings me a train.”

 

The next thing he heard was the sound of Mom banging on a pot with a wooden spoon and Dad calling up the stairs, “Wake up sleepy heads!  Santa has been here.”  This time it was Tim who leaped down the stairs two at a time and was the first one to the tree.  He could hardly believe his eyes.  There must have been other presents under the tree but all he saw were two ovals of 3 rail track, one inside of the other.  On the inside track was a blue engine followed by three beautifully colored and detailed blue passenger cars.  As Tim dropped to his knees he could see the electric outline engine had the number 3113 on a brass number board.  The outside track was being circled by a grey streamlined steam engine and tender.  It was pulling three freight cars.  Tim could hardly believe that Santa had been so good to him.  He barely noticed that neither train was new.  Santa had taken his advice and had the elves find some older leftover trains for him, and they were all American Flyers.  Tim and his Dad and siblings played with those trains for hours.  Each year after that those two trains had an honored place circling the family tree.

 

 

Years later when Tim was a grown man he asked his father how “Santa” had managed to find trains that year when none were being produed or sold.  Dad smiled and replied, “Mom and I knew for months ahead of time that you wanted a train for Christmas.  I talked to a number of my co-workers at the Post Office to see if they knew of anyone who wanted to get rid of any trains.  “Mr. Winter” was actually my supervisor and the blue train was his when he was a boy.  I think he called it the Blue Bird.  The other train came from Santa’s Elf, who was another of the mail carriers in a different part of the city.  He heard about your request for an American Flyer train from Mr. Winter and decided that his trains would find a new home with you.  Mom and I were sure that the surprise had been spoiled when they delivered the trains when we weren’t home.  Mr. Winter said you looked terrified when he showed up at the door.  He wondered if you thought he was a spy bringing some kind of secret weapon to the house.  Tim, I’m sorry that we couldn’t find new trains for you that year.”   Tim smiled and gave his Dad a big bear hug. “Dad they couldn’t have been better if they had been made out of solid gold.”  “Now lets go turn out the living room lights and run some trains.”

 

Merry Christmas

 

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Northwoods Flyer

 

Mr. Winter's Bluebird Set from  1928

The set brought by Santa's Elf    

The Pennsylvania Freight  Set #1716 from 1937

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Posted by strainst on Sunday, February 12, 2017 7:18 AM

As in the past, this is another wonderful Christmas story/memory that is brought to life by Northwoods Flyer.  I look forward to these postings and as the others, this brings a smile to my heart.  Thanks for the memories.

strainst

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Posted by strainst on Sunday, February 12, 2017 7:54 AM

Mystery Set Box

 

Last year I came a cross a small collection of Pre-War American Flyer trains.  In the collection was an empty set box with the number 7055 stamped on the end.

Somewhere in the past I came across a list showing what years were covered by the million number listed on an item, but I am unable to lay my hands on it now.  This box has "over 6½ million satisfied oweners" on the end label.  Does anyone know which years this box would have been produced?  Does anyone know what was in this set?  I came across a list I printed from some source that has set numbers close to this number, but not this number.  The list I have does not reference who these sets were made for and when I printed the list out, I failed to note it on the list.  I have included it below.  If anyone can identify the source, I would like to update my records with that information.

If this list is too small to view, please email me at strainst@aol.com and I will email a copy to you.  Thanks.

strainst

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, February 12, 2017 4:43 PM

strainst,

Thanks for posting.  I sent you an email. 

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 6:36 AM

strains,

I remenber reading an article that listed what years each of the "Millions of Satisfied Customers" numbers were used.  I've looked for that information several times but haven't been able to remember where I originally saw it.  I think it was in one of the copies of "The Collector".  I keep telling myself that "when I have some time" I will work my way through my copies of that publication to see if I can find it.  It could possibly have been an article available in one of the issues of the TCA quarterly but I don't think I was a subscriber at the time I read it.

As far as your mystery box is concerned; If I remember correctly anything that had a 7xxx number was an uncataloged set that was put together for a store account.  Beyond that I can't provide any additional information.  Nice find.  It looks like the box is in great shape.  I hope you find out what the original contents were.  Are you going to try to find the original pieces for the set it contained?

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

Northwoods-Flyer

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, February 24, 2017 9:10 PM

I happened to be going through one of those forgotten boxes under my layout the other day. (Am I the only one who has some of those? Confused )  I came across a #2012 in white like the one that NationWideLines posted a few pages back. I am suspicious that mine may actually be a repaint.

I checked the bottom of mine and it isn't white.  

NWL,could you check the bottom of your white #2012 to see if its white?

 

I have a green version of the #2012 too.

I compared the bottoms of the two semaphores and the colors are not the same. Did American Flyer paint some of their green semaphores white when they were experimenting with the white color?

 I notice that your green example has a brass top and your white version does not. Mine are the same way.

Enjoying the World's Greatest Hobby

 

I am reposting Nationwidelines' original post for reference.

Northwoods Flyer

Nationwidelines

I am not sure if a photo of this has been posted here before or not.  I thought that I had posted a picture of this, but in looking through my stored photos, I did not find a copy of it.  Anyway, here is a variation of a 2012 manual sempahore.

I took the photo on the layout as my standard white background would not have worked too well on this.  Here is another, more common variation of the 2012.

 

I suspect there might be a variation of this in orange too, but do not have a ready photograph.

NWL

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, February 25, 2017 4:37 AM

Northwoods,

From the photos, your white semaphore certainly looks correct.  I believe that the base on mine is also not shiny white like the top.

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, March 04, 2017 12:30 AM

2015/4015  Automatic Semaphore with Light


I have two examples of this semaphore.  This is another example of American Flyer marketing the same accessory for their wide and narrow gauge lines. 2015 came with a piece of narrow gauge track and the 4015 came with a wide gauge piece of track.

This version is described in Schuweiler's book under the 2015 listing. (Circa 1928-1929)

This version isn't described but it is shown in the photo section of signals. (Circa 1928-1929)

My example is missing a ladder and it is in pretty tough shape. It makes me suspect that someone has married two signals to get this version.

Has anyone seen a boxed example of the green version? NationWideLines?

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Northwoods Flyer

 

 

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

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"The Toy For the Boy"

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, March 04, 2017 2:12 AM

Northwoods,

I do not have a boxed green one, but I do have a green one.  There is one thing about your green signal that makes me think it is a marriage, other than the missing ladder. 

My green signal is all green, no blue base. 

Going to be at the Rocky Mountain Train Show in the morning!  Going to be in the upper 60s in Denver tomorrow!

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, March 10, 2017 9:57 AM

Catalogs - Comparisons - Tips

Original catalogs are a great source of information, but they have to be studied carefully, as they can be misleading.  An old-timer pointed the following tips out to me several years ago and I am sharing this information here. 

So the tip from the old-timer was: 

"Don't rely only on the pictures and know what subtle differences in the text description really mean"

My own tip is: "Expect variations in cataloged sets due to product transition and normal variances in production" 

To illustrate this point, I offer the following two descriptions of the Major Leaguer set, the first from the 1930 catalog and the second from the 1931 catalog.

1930

 

 
 
1931
 
While one might think that the two sets are identical between the different years,  in reality the only thing that is identical between the two years is the artwork shown in the catalog.
 
Actual differences between the two years are detailed in the descriptions are are quite stark in comparison.
 
First, the 1930 set comes with a 3193 engine and tender combination, which is a 3197 engine and associated tender and is the engine and tender that would match the artwork shown in the catalog.  However, in reading the description for the 1931 set, you will note that the 1931 set comes with a 3188 engine and tender combination, which would be a 3198 engine and 3189 tender.  Therefore, the catalog artwork for 1931 does not show the engine that comes with the actual set.
 
The second and more subtle difference between the descriptions for 1930 and 1931 are the descriptions of the cars.  In 1930, the description indicates "...double truck construction with beautiful coloring and individual brass trim including hand rails, journal boxes, brake wheels, and ladders.  The trucks of the cars and also the roofs of the baggage car and caboose are finished in bright enamels."
 
The 1931 car description is entirely different and indicates "...of double truck construction with beautiful enamel colorings and brass trim."
 
What the old timer pointed out to me in the catalogs was that in 1930 the lithographed 6 inch cars are described as having beautiful colors and brass trim.  Prior to 1930, the lithographed cars are not described as having brass trim. 
 
In 1931, although the catalog shows the 1930 artwork, the cars are described as having enamel coloring, which differs from the 1930 description of the cars having enamel trucks and roofs. 
 
My own tip of expect differences in cataloged sets due to normal production variances, gets into the transitional nature of production.  For instance, could a Major Leaguer set exist with the lithographed cars and the 3184 engine tender combination?
 
 
NWL
 
 
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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:12 AM

NWL,

Thanks for the tips. American Flyer's inaccuracies in their catalogs make the hunt for equipment from each year, and identifying the time frame for when production changes occured a real challenge.

 

Set #1715   Pennsylvania Passenger                1937

 

Recently I finally picked up the final pieces to complete this set for the collection.  I have had the accompanying freight set all my life.  In fact, the freight set was a part of the family trains that I inherited and was actually a part of the family before I was.

The catalog photo above from 1937 is another good example of the art work in the catalog not matching what was actually available. The catalog artwork is from 1936 when the Type XXI Pennyslvania engine was introduced in black, heading both the freight and passenger sets.

In 1937 it was changed to grey and had a leading truck added.  This is the engine as it appears in the 1937 catalog with the photo added at the top of the page.

And here it is matched up with the 2- #3176 Pullman passenger cars and the #3177 Observation. While not obvious in the photo the roofs of the passenger cars are a slightly darker shade of red.

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Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

"The Toy For the Boy"

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  • 466 posts
Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, March 19, 2017 11:30 AM

Northwoods,

The 1937 artwork for those sets are interesting, as the sets shown are from the 1936 catalog, but the engine at the top of the page is the correct artwork for 1937.

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, March 19, 2017 11:51 AM

Nationwidelines

Catalogs - Comparisons - Tips

Original catalogs are a great source of information, but they have to be studied carefully, as they can be misleading.  An old-timer pointed the following tips out to me several years ago and I am sharing this information here. 

So the tip from the old-timer was: 

"Don't rely only on the pictures and know what subtle differences in the text description really mean"

My own tip is: "Expect variations in cataloged sets due to product transition and normal variances in production" 

To illustrate this point, I offer the following two descriptions of the Major Leaguer set, the first from the 1930 catalog and the second from the 1931 catalog.

1930

 

 
 
1931
 
While one might think that the two sets are identical between the different years,  in reality the only thing that is identical between the two years is the artwork shown in the catalog.
 
Actual differences between the two years are detailed in the descriptions are are quite stark in comparison.
 
First, the 1930 set comes with a 3193 engine and tender combination, which is a 3197 engine and associated tender and is the engine and tender that would match the artwork shown in the catalog.  However, in reading the description for the 1931 set, you will note that the 1931 set comes with a 3188 engine and tender combination, which would be a 3198 engine and 3189 tender.  Therefore, the catalog artwork for 1931 does not show the engine that comes with the actual set.
 
The second and more subtle difference between the descriptions for 1930 and 1931 are the descriptions of the cars.  In 1930, the description indicates "...double truck construction with beautiful coloring and individual brass trim including hand rails, journal boxes, brake wheels, and ladders.  The trucks of the cars and also the roofs of the baggage car and caboose are finished in bright enamels."
 
The 1931 car description is entirely different and indicates "...of double truck construction with beautiful enamel colorings and brass trim."
 
What the old timer pointed out to me in the catalogs was that in 1930 the lithographed 6 inch cars are described as having beautiful colors and brass trim.  Prior to 1930, the lithographed cars are not described as having brass trim. 
 
In 1931, although the catalog shows the 1930 artwork, the cars are described as having enamel coloring, which differs from the 1930 description of the cars having enamel trucks and roofs. 
 
My own tip of expect differences in cataloged sets due to normal production variances, gets into the transitional nature of production.  For instance, could a Major Leaguer set exist with the lithographed cars and the 3184 engine tender combination?
 
 
NWL
 
 
 

Major Leaguer - 1931

I was able to purchase a very spectacular Major Leaguer set from 1931 today from a private party.  I knew of the pending purchase when I profiled these sets in my previous post. 

What I was not expecting to find is an apparent production variation.  I say this based on the information provided in the Greenberg's Guide and the 1931 catalog versus what I recieved.  Per the 1931 catalog the set comes with an engine tender combination 3188, which is comprised of a 3198 locomotive (type IV casting) and 4 wheel tender.

So far everything appears normal.....But wait!  I have a 3198 type V locomotive with an 8 wheel tender!  The Type V engine is noted as having a modified Type IV casting, which features a brass window insert and a longer pilot, with the numbers being 3180 and 3190, not 3198.  These engines also came in engine tender combinations numbered 3184 and 3191, not 3188. 

In fact, the Greenberg's guide does not describe the 3198 engine as coming with a Type V casting...yet here it is!

 

If it were not for the spectacular condition of the engine/tender and master carton, I would suspect that someone put these items together.  However, since the set came to me as a complete Major Leaguer set and I know its history / owner for the last 20 years and know the former owner acquired it the same as I received it, it appears correct to me. 

Also the oddity of the spectacular condition and 3198 being rubber stamped on the pilot of a Type V casting, lends to the credibility of the engine/tender set. 

Here are the rest of the components of the set. 

 

 

NWL

 

 

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Posted by mersenne6 on Sunday, March 19, 2017 9:58 PM

NWL - it is nice to see that there are at least 2 #3198's like yours in existence.

Back in 2008 on the current page 6 of this thread I noted the following concerning #3190

 

 

The engine came as either a 2-4-0 or a 0-4-0 without any reverse, with a manual reverse or with a remote control reverse.  Identification numbers for the engine were rubber stamped on the underside of the pilot.

The numbers for the various combinations I've seen are

3190 R/C - 2-4-0 - remote control

3190 M/C - 2-4-0 - manual reverse

3180 - 0-4-0 no reverse

3180 R/C - 0-4-0 - remote control

3180 R/C - 2-4-0 - remote control

 There is also a hybrid that isn't part of the above number sequence. Some of the Iron Duke sets in from 1931 came with a 3190 casting with an 0-4-0 wheel arrangement and a manual reverse identical to the #3197.  The ID number on the underside of the pilot is #3198.  This means there are two different AF engines identified as #3198.

  That Iron Duke set had an 8 wheel tender just like yours.  The set, I'm sorry to say, was in terrible shape.  I ran into it at York back in the late 1990's and took notes on the set in the hopes that someday I would find one like it in excellent condition - I'm still looking.

  What makes your set even more interesting is the valve gear on the engine.  It's the all diecast rods version which my research led me to believe was rather quickly replaced first with a sheet metal connecting rod between the drivers and a diecast piston rod and then with a full sheet metal set for both connecting and piston rods.  The engine in the set I saw way back when didn't have any remaining components of the rod assembly.

   Again - that is a real gem congratulations!

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, March 24, 2017 10:06 PM

NationwideLines;

That is a spectacular example of the Major Leaguer. Congratulations on a fantasitc addition to your collection.

Mersenne6,

I went back and read your post on page 6 and the following pages about "Electrifying Steam" There is a lot of great information in those entries.  Thanks for posting them.  It seems like yesterday and it is already 9 years ago.  Yikes!

I thought I would post some photos of both sets from 1937 to go with the sets from 1936.  Here are sets #1715 Pennsylvania Passenger, and #1716 Pennsylvania Freight:

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Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

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Posted by LL675 on Sunday, March 26, 2017 6:51 PM

this showed up this week. I've seen the 3707 called a Sand Car and a Gondola. Which is correct?

Dave

It's a TOY, A child's PLAYTHING!!! (Woody  from Toy Story)

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, March 26, 2017 7:03 PM

LL675

this showed up this week. I've seen the 3707 called a Sand Car and a Gondola. Which is correct?

 

The 3207 car was referred to by American Flyer as a Sand Car.  That style of car is commonly referred to as a gondola. 

 

NWL

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, April 01, 2017 11:44 AM

A few months ago I posted pictures of a white 2012 and then Northwoods posted pictures of his white 2012.  I need to update this, as I recently acquired another white 2012, this one in its original box.

This item is in superb condition and comes with a cast finial on top, which is different from the earlier pictures that have been posted.  I looked at the first 2012 that Iposted pictures of and it appears that semaphore did have a finial on it at one time. 

In researching the 2012, the greenberg's guide indicates that the cast finials came on the 2012's beginning in 1928.  Although I suspected that these 2012's were early items, the fact that this one came with a finial and a box that would date it to 1928, it appears that I gessed wrong on when these items were produced.

NWL

 

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, April 01, 2017 2:18 PM

Northwoods,

You asked me privately what the signal in the right of the last photo above was.  It is a 2018 block signal from 1925-1926. 

Mine unfortunately has been repainted once, due to chipping paint.  I had to clean this item and there was even more paint loss to the item during the cleaning process.  It was unfortunate, but it was so dirty.  It was during the cleaning that I noted the repainting of the item, as the paint at the top of the mast is still original. 

NWL

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, April 08, 2017 10:31 AM

I was out of town recently and stopped in a hobby shop to see if they might have any American Flyer in their inventory.  To my surprise there were two orphans just waiting for someone to take them to a new home.

They are both made out of wood, and slightly different in size.  Only one had the full label.

They each contained a tear drop bulb, which I suspect are not the original bulbs that they contained. The real surprise was that each one still contained the original tissue paper that cushioned the bulbs.

 

 

Back on page 51 NationWideLines  has a  post about some bulb boxes that he ran across.

http://cs.trains.com/ctt/f/95/t/116423.aspx?page=51

I have to admit to being a box crazed nut and these are simply classic!

The smaller two are clearly labeled American Flyer and I suspect the larger two, although not labeled American Flyer, will correspond to Flyer numbers if researched a bit more.

I have other Flyer bulb boxes, but they appear to be later boxes and are for either 3 or 6 bulbs, not singles.
 
NWL
 

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Northwoods Flyer

The Northwoods Flyer Collection

of

American Flyer Trains

"The Toy For the Boy"

  • Member since
    August, 2011
  • 466 posts
Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, April 08, 2017 2:18 PM

Northwoods.

That is a great find!  I had not seen the wooden bulb containers with the late labels on them.  Those blue labels date to 1928 or after.  I have a couple of cardboard boxes for bulbs, where each box holds 3 or 6 bulbs. 

NWL

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