Pre War American Flyer Pictures - An Invitation

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Posted by Heymrd1313 on Sunday, April 09, 2017 1:20 PM

This a bit off topic but does anyone have a picture to post of a AF 1121 black tender with it's coal load intact ? If so please post. Thanks.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Sunday, April 09, 2017 5:10 PM

The 1121 tenders either had a smooth roof, ie no visible coal load, or a cutout in the roof with an empty bunker.  There was never a coal load in these tenders. 

 

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Posted by Heymrd1313 on Sunday, April 09, 2017 5:15 PM

Thanks for the information. I looked and looked and only found pictures with an empty bunker but wanted to make sure that i was not mssing something and I knew the correct answer could be found here.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:48 PM

#1201 Steeple Cab Locomotive 

American Flyer cataloged this engine from 1920 through 1924.

This is a relatively no frills locomotive.  It has no headlight and very little brass or other adornments other than red paint on the windows and rubber stamping on either side of the center door, and the number on both ends.

According to Schuweiler some #1201s were modified at the factory by adding sheetmetal headlights in an effort to use up shells.

I finally added the #1201 with the sheet metal headlight to the collection.  I got it from one of the contributors to the thread.

While it has had some paint touch up, I am fairly confident that it is an original #1201.

My two examples also illustrate the two types of handrails used on Steeple Cabs. 

Schuweiler lists a green variation of this locomotive.  I guess its time to start hunting for that engine.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, April 21, 2017 6:43 AM

Northwoods,

That is a great find.  The paint looks to be in excellent condition!  I actually do not have a 1201 with the headlight.  I have a roof mounted headlight on a 1211 boxcab, but not on the 1201.

Here are some additional variations of the 1201. 

The hardest variation to find is the one that uses decal lettering instead of rubberstamped letters.  This appears to be the earliest of the 1201 engines and the best guess is that Flyer decided it was either too expensive to use decals or was easier to rubberstamp the engines.  I have only seen a couple of these decaled engines (including a 1218 that was factory overpainted, over the decals)

 

Here is another early 1201.  You can tell the early engines by the style and number of power pickups on the motor and the style of the wheels.  The earliest motors had a single power pick up mounted on a long brass tab.  The next power pick up (like the one on this motor) is a single pick up mounted on a stronger steel arm that is mounted more to the center of the motor.  I mentioned the wheels are different, and you can see that the wheels on this motor have 8 spokes and do not have the steel tire around the flange.  Flyer used this style wheel into early 1922, prior to switching to the 10-spoke wheels with the steel tire.  I state this due to observed variations of the earliest 3020 engines.

The next variation is also an unusual one.  Not sure why, but this engine never had handrails installed.  This is evidenced by the mounting holes for the handrails being filled with paint.  It also never recieved a pantograph. 

This example also features an unusual motor variation that was very short-lived (I believe 1922 only, but do not recall the year).  It features brushes that are contained wholly inside of the frame and a separate cylinder from the armature that the brushes make contact with. 

Lastly, you mention the green variation for the 1201.  I do not have one.  I have both a 1218 and a 1217 in the following dark green color.  I suspect that the green variation of the 1201 would be this dark green color.

I realize the above photo makes the engine look more of a black color, but in reality it is a very dark green color.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:47 PM

Track

Here is a York find!  It accounts for $1 of the $2 I spent at the TCA show at the Fairgrounds.

This track section, with engine stop/flag dates to about 1916 and is something that one does not come across often.  These were used to stop the engines, with the #15 and later #16 engines having a hook/lever that would catch on the special section and stop the engine. 

 

The next items of track are things that I brought with me to York to consult others, as I had not seen these items previously and was trying to determine if they were pre-1910 Flyer items.

The cross over is a very interesting item, with the red piece at the center being a cast-iron item and the ties and rails of the remainder being soldered together. 

I consulted with several people over the course of the last week and nobody could recall seeing a crossing like this.  Several people told me that it was definitely american made, but that it was not Ives or American Miniature Rail Road items.  One of these collectors indicated that he had consulted the American Miniature RR catalog and that the AMRR crossings have a lithographed center, with the company name lithographed in the item. 

I finally showed it to a friend and he said believed it was American Flyer track.  After arriving home last evening, I consulted my reproduction c. 1909 American Flyer catalog and sure enough, it appears that the above crossing is a pre-1910 American Flyer crossing.  The catalog artwork clearly shows the "U" shaped raised sections on the center piece, like the above item has. 

Discovering that the above crossing is an American Flyer item leads me to the conclusion that the straight and curve track sections that came with the crossing are also pre-1910 American Flyer.  I base this on the fact that the ties match the crossing and that the method and design of soldering the track to the ties matches the crossing.

 

To me, the discovery of pre-1910 Flyer track is exciting, as until recently, I was not sure what pre-1914 American Flyer track looked like.  I recently purchased a c. 1910 American Flyer setbox that came with a loop of track that comprised 6 curves and 2 straights.  The 6 curves had ties that were connected to the rails by having a large tab bent up around the lower portion of the track (similar to the end ties on the c. 1916 engine stop shown above).  However, the straights that were in the box had ties soldered to the rails, like the above track. 

Knowing that early track typically featured rails that were soldered to the ties, I thought that possibly the track in the box represented production crossover, where they had some early straights that were boxed with the curves.  However, I was not sure.  I did note that the track matched some other straights, the above curve, and the crossover that I had.  Although I suspected it could be Flyer, I wanted other opinions. 

Now that I have been able to match the artwork of the crossing section to the item I have, it is easier to attribute this as pre-1910 Flyer track.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 4:37 PM

More York Finds

Although I did not find anything significant at the TCA show, I arrived in York on Monday and sold at one of the hotel shows.  I found this within 5 minutes of arriving on Monday morning.

I was happy to find it at a reasonable price.  It goes great with the following engine and tender.

 

Later on Monday, I spotted this junker while walking through the hotel show.

It did not run due to a stripped gear, was missing a boiler band, and half of the cow catcher was missing and had been replaced with a home-made resin piece.  The exciting thing for me, was that the engine had all of its side rods, which are the difficult to find early two-piece side rods.  I needed the side rods for an engine in a boxed set that was missing one set of rods.

A further bonus on the engine, was repairing it and making it run.  I noted that one of the gears in the motor was stripped and would not allow it to run.  I was not sure if I could make it run, but recalled taking apart an early engine a couple of years ago for a brake lever.  I found the box of parts and found the gear and shaft that I needed to replace and proceeded to take apart the engine and replace it.  Upon putting the motor back together, I was pleased to discover that it is a very strong running engine. 

NWL 

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Posted by George Thill on Friday, May 05, 2017 7:23 AM

You have quite a collection! 

I have about a dozen standard gauge engines and maybe 10 sets of passenger and freight cars including two wide gauge AF sets.

My AF# 4000 box cab engine has a reverse lever underneath that looks like iy can be activated by a track-trip. 

Does anyone know anything about this device, and what it looks like, and if it is available anywhere? 

I know that Lionel made a couple of different types of prewar track-tripes, but I have'nt been able to locate them either.

Thanks in advance for any information you can give me.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, May 05, 2017 1:25 PM

Hello George welcome to the thread.   Welcome

I don't think that I have seen a Wide Gauge engine that has a track trip reverse unit.  I'm not saying they don't exist, but I cant remember seeing one.  Could you post a photo of your engine?

There are track trip activated reverse units in the Narrow Gauge line as illustrated on the 3115 below.

This is what the trip looks like for the O gauge line

I will have to check my Wide Gauge engines more closely and see what I can find.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, May 05, 2017 6:03 PM

Well, I learn something new all the time in this hobby.  George is right!  There are Wide Gauge Box Cab Electric Locomotives that have an automatic track trip!  After I did a little research I found out that #4000 (1925-1926), #4019 (1925-1927), and #4039 (1926) all have the automatic track reverse. They all use the same track trip that I posted above. I have a bit more research to do and I will post some photos.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, May 05, 2017 8:30 PM

Northwoods,

Be prepared to learn more! 

Although you did a nice job showing the O gauge track trip reverse, the standard gauge track trip was of a different design. 

Here are pictures of a standard gauge track trip reverse.

Here is a picture of it in a section of track.  I believe the small part that is held on by a screw, should rotate and cause it to firmly attach to the track, when the screw is loosened and re-tightened.

The mechanism operates by sliding in and out by pushing or pulling on the post sticking up.

The reverse mechanism on the bottom of the locomotive is the lever that is to the right of the power pick up shown in the following photo.  I do not know what engines this mechanism was used on.  My engine is a green 4000 locomotive from about 1927 (it came in the early Trail Blazer set that featured caboose with 4000 plates, blue log car with 4000 plates, and medium green 4000 engine).

 

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, May 05, 2017 10:27 PM

NationWideLines,

Great information!  Thanks for posting the photos of the Wide Gauge track trip. I have never seen one before.  I would never have recognized it for what it is.

After reading George's post I took down my #4000 from the display shelf.  It has been restored, and it is a place holder until I can find an original.

 

Here are a few more photos of the Automatic track reverse.

Once I realized what the automatic track reverse unit looked like, I tried to figure out how the track trips I had could be used on Wide Gauge Track.  This is what I came up with:

The O Gauge trips will fit on the Wide Gauge track. The lower position will derail anything that runs over it if it is placed in the down position.  The top position will work but in the down position it would cause a short.  Both are clumsy.  I suspected that there must be a different style of trip for Wide Gauge.  I'm glad you cleared up the question.  I will be on the look out for one of the Wide Gauge trips now.

Here is some information from Greenberg's Guide to American Flyer Wide Gauge by Schuweiler.  Its a chart from Chapter II Electric-Style Locomotives   -  page15.

You can see from the table that #4000, #4019, and #4039 all have this style of Automatic track reverse. 

The chapter also gives information about Engine Construction and Details in 6 basic categories.

This is a quote from page 17 

6.  Miscellaneous

"....American Flyer stated that the new Wide Gauge locomotives had "patented automatic reverse." This feature...was a track trip that would mechanically move a lever which would in turn switch the polarity and reverse the locomotive.  This feature was also used on top-of-the-line O Gauge locomotives.  4000, 4019 and 4039 have the track trip reverse,..."

The 1925 and 1926 catalogs both show the automatic track reverse.  I will try to get some photos of the catalog pages.

Doing research on these PreWar trains is a lot of fun.  Once again I have learned something new.

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Posted by George Thill on Friday, May 05, 2017 10:55 PM

Thanks, guys, for all this great info and photos!

Now I will try to fashion a similar device since i've never been able to aquire one to operate this reverse feature.

I made some for my lionel #33 STD gauge engines from universal track lockons, but they don't work well: too abrupt and jerkey.

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, May 06, 2017 6:10 AM

George Thill

I made some for my lionel #33 STD gauge engines from universal track lockons, but they don't work well: too abrupt and jerkey.

 

 
I would suspect that you will find the Flyer track trip to also be "abrupt and jerky". 
 
Although I have never used the Wide Gauge track trip reverse, I know that the O gauge trips are abrupt and jerky.  Due to the nature of the design, it is my guess that this type of mechanism can only be abrupt and jerky.  That is likely why Flyer quickly moved to automatic reverse and manual reverse that operated by a lever sticking through the roof of the standard gauge locomotives.
 
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Posted by Zepherfan on Friday, May 26, 2017 4:56 PM

Could someone tell me if a 425 steam engine should have a weight in the front of the boiler casting? Someone had removed the headlight socket and bracket, as well as the reverse unit. Have been locating junker parts for a restoration, but am at a loss as to whether I need a weight too. Thanks for any advice on this!

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Saturday, May 27, 2017 8:21 PM

Zepherfan

Could someone tell me if a 425 steam engine should have a weight in the front of the boiler casting? Someone had removed the headlight socket and bracket, as well as the reverse unit. Have been locating junker parts for a restoration, but am at a loss as to whether I need a weight too. Thanks for any advice on this!

 

 

There is no weight in the front of the 425.

 

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Posted by Zepherfan on Sunday, May 28, 2017 8:31 AM

Nationwidelines

 

 
Zepherfan

Could someone tell me if a 425 steam engine should have a weight in the front of the boiler casting? Someone had removed the headlight socket and bracket, as well as the reverse unit. Have been locating junker parts for a restoration, but am at a loss as to whether I need a weight too. Thanks for any advice on this!

 

 

 

 

There is no weight in the front of the 425.

 

NWL

 

      Many thanks for that information! I had re-read almost all the previous posts but was unable to find anything about a weight. 

      

      

Ken

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Posted by Zepherfan on Sunday, May 28, 2017 9:00 AM

Nationwidelines

 

 
Zepherfan

Could someone tell me if a 425 steam engine should have a weight in the front of the boiler casting? Someone had removed the headlight socket and bracket, as well as the reverse unit. Have been locating junker parts for a restoration, but am at a loss as to whether I need a weight too. Thanks for any advice on this!

 

 

 

 

There is no weight in the front of the 425.

 

NWL

 

      Many thanks for that information! I had re-read almost all the previous posts but was unable to find anything about a weight. 

      

      

Ken

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 6:34 AM

Zepherfan;

Welcome to the thread.  I see that NationWideLines answered your question.  I hope you found some other information that was useful as you have read through the thread. It has been the work of many people.

This is the example that I have of the #425 engine. (Ooops!  This is the #423 - my mistake.  I will have to find my #425 and take a photo of it.) A previous owner did some modifications to it, but I think it is still a pretty good representation.

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Posted by Zepherfan on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 9:26 AM

Hello Northwoods- like many other readers here, I found the site while searching for specific information about an American Flyer piece a couple of years ago.

     At the time, I had a four unit set of the small aluminum bodied Zephyr that I had refurbished. It is my avatar picture. But as you have said many times in your posts, you can't stop with just one pre-war train!

     Since that time, I redid another two, three unit Zephyr sets that I bought as individual pieces, often in horrible condition. Kind of got hooked on the simple, avante garde styling and construction of the trains. I suppose die hard collectors would be horrified at my additions of extra handrails and window glazing on the engineer's compartment, and extra decals on each car, as well as polishing the cars back to near new condition.  But you can never get the nicks and dents out that testify to the years of enjoyment that they brought to so many kids.

     Then, while waiting for parts for a Zephyr engine, came across a 2-4-2 #420 steamer and  tender with curly Q couplers that looked to be in decent shape. Someone had rewheeled it, but I had to get the drive rods back in synch, and redo the reverse unit drum and fingers.

     Then came along this 2-6-4 #425 steamer and its die-cast semi Vanderbilt tender with curly Q couplers. Loved that tender!The engine had been gutted of headlight socket and bracket, and the reverse unit. It had been painted black over its' brass handrails and steam/ sand domes, as well as the decals. And one corner of the cab roof had been broken off. Also needed new lead and trailing truck wheels.

    But it is coming along as time away from yard work allows. Have stripped what paint was left off the tender, primed and repainted it, and now waiting for decals. Engine is stripped and primed,and working at building the cab roof back up to correct shape and contour. Just needed to know if a weight was required, and NationWide was kind enough to give me that information.  

      Will keep checking in for new posts, and/or reread old, as this "museum" site is the best!!

    

      

Ken

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, June 03, 2017 11:35 AM

425 Steam Locomotive

I finally got around to finding my #425 as I promised Zephyrfan.

The #425 is a Type XVI die-cast engine. It was cataloged from 1939 through 1940. It was paired with the #426 Type VI semi-Vanderbilt tender, in the Locomotive - Tender Combination #427.

 

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Posted by LL675 on Sunday, June 04, 2017 12:34 PM

Northwoods Flyer

425 Steam Locomotive

I finally got around to finding my #425 as I promised Zephyrfan.

The #425 is a Type XVI die-cast engine. It was cataloged from 1939 through 1940. It was paired with the #426 Type VI semi-Vanderbilt tender, in the Locomotive - Tender Combination #427.

 

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Northwoods Flyer

 

 

 

beautiful locomotive!

Dave

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Saturday, June 10, 2017 10:20 AM

The Bluebirds of Happiness

The Bluebird is one of my sentimental favorites. The set on the top is one of the sets that I inherited from my family.  It was a part of the family before I was.  Its wheels were deteriorated even when I was a child so it wobbled crazily down the track. My Dad referred to it as the "Toonerville Trolley"

Image result for toonerville trolley

It obviously looks nothing like the Toonerville Trolley but the name stuck in our family lore.

The Bluebird appeared in the American Flyer Catalog from 1927 through 1929. 

The set on the bottom is from 1927 and was headed by the #3013, the cars came without journals. The set on the top is what the Bluebird looked like in 1928 - 1929. In those years it was headed by the #3113.  The cars came with journals.

 

The two engines differ in the placement of the headlight and the number of identifying tags. The #3113 also has a trackside reverse.

A comparison of the cars:

The roofs on the family set from 1928 -1929 have flaked badly over the years, and unfortunately I displayed the set where it was in direct sunlight, and one side of the cars and engine is badly faded Sad.

The roofs on the set from 1927 have been repainted. I have looked for this variation of cars for a long time and decided to add them to the collection anyway.  The color is not quite right, but someday I will repaint them in a better color.

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Friday, June 16, 2017 7:03 AM

I posted this back on page 52, but I thought I would post it here again to keep the Blubird information together.

The New Bluebird 1930 Set #1382      (1931 - 1932 the same set is  known as The Blue Bird)

In 1930 Flyer recycled the name in The New Bluebird

It is an enameled version that pretty much uses the same engine and cars as The Frontenac.

In the 1931 and 1932 catalogs it becomes The Bluebird. (I guess with time its loses its "new" status.) The set came with a number of accessories, making for great play value.  This is the catalog page from 1927 showing the accessories included with the lithographed set.

 

I haven't seen very many examples of this set.

 

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Posted by Nationwidelines on Friday, June 16, 2017 1:56 PM

Northwoods,

Great information to keep us interested in trains during the dog days of summer!

Your comment on not seeing many examples of the enameled blue bird sets made me think.  To be honest, I have never come across a boxed enamel blue bird set.  I have seen several examples of boxed lithographed blue bird sets and have both a 1927 and 1928-29 (not sure which year my set is) versions.  I would suspect tha possibly due to the ongoing depression of 1930s, that there are fewer of these sets out there than the lithographed versions, but that is just a guess on my part.

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Posted by LL675 on Saturday, June 24, 2017 7:36 PM

this was in a box of train parts I bought off a buddy. Missing some parts, and needs some TLC.

Dave

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Posted by Northwoods Flyer on Sunday, June 25, 2017 8:42 AM

Nice find Dave.  You are on your way to a great Pre War collection.  The parts are not that difficult to find.

Before you know it you will have the whole passenger set.

 

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Posted by LL675 on Sunday, June 25, 2017 11:34 AM

Thanks Greg. Jeff Kane is my guy for Lionel, who do you like for Flyer?

Got this car in the deal too, would it have gone with the Royal?

It's had a repaint, but it looks like it was a dark grey? under neath.

Dave

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Posted by rrswede on Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:22 PM

I don't know who Greg might suggest but I have found Port Lines Hobby Supply to be very helpful.

   Port Lines Hobby Supply 
  6 Storeybrooke Drive 
  Newburyport, MA 01950-3408

   978-465-8798 Phone/Fax 

swede

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Posted by LL675 on Sunday, June 25, 2017 2:51 PM

thanks Swede

Dave

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